This Policy is intended to reflect the content of Legislation including the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) as well as Guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba and the Canadian Medical Association.
The Staff of Lakewood Medical Center (LMC) will ensure the protection of the confidentiality of any personal health information (PHI) accessed in the course of providing patient care. We will only collect, use and disclose health information that is required for the purposes of providing care. Consent is implied for the collection, use, and disclosure of PHI for ourselves and to other health professionals accessed in the routine process of care of patients associated with this clinic. No consent from the patient is required when the disclosure is mandated by legislation. Written consent is required for PHI to be shared with a third party for reasons other than care and treatment. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Consequences of denying or withdrawing consent will be made clear to the patient. All Staff are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Retention of Records
LMC will retain patient records as required by law, and regulation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. All charts are retained for a minimum of 10 years after the last entry, or 10 years after the patient has reached the age of majority.
Destruction of Records
LMC will destroy our records only after the requirements for retention have been fulfilled. Destruction will occur in a way that protects patient privacy in accordance with regulations made by the College of Physician and Surgeons of Manitoba.
Patient Access to Records
Requests for access to medical records can be made in writing to LMC. An estimate that reflects the cost of photocopying and the physician’s time for reviewing the chart, adhering to the Guidelines of the Manitoba Medical Association, will be provided to the patient.
Refusal of access to medical records will occur in the following circumstances:
If the individual requesting access is someone other than the patient to which the record refers, with the exception being the legal guardian of a minor, unless written consent is obtained from the patient naming the specific designated individual or third party.
If the information could reasonably endanger the mental or physical health or safety of the patient to which the record refers, or any other individual.
If the disclosure would reveal PHI about another person who has not consented to the disclosure.
Requests to view the original record, having met the above requirements, will be facillitated with a staff member present to maintain the integrity of the chart. This staff member will not be able to answer any questions related to PHI recorded in the chart, but will only be present to ensure the integrity of the record. There will be a fee for this process, concordant with the Guidelines of the Manitoba Medical Association.
Protection Via Communication
Answering Machines / Messages: In the event that LMC needs to contact a patient for any reason and communication is occurring via an answering machine or through another individual via a message, the only information transferred by LMC Staff will be a request for a call back or a request to attend the office. Exceptions to this will include:
If the patient is a minor and the telephone contact is made with the legal guardian.
If a consent to leave PHI on an answering machine or with another individual has been documented in the patient’s record.
If the physician concludes there is a risk to personal health or safety that is grave enough to warrant breach of the patient’s right to privacy.
Fax: The fax machine and copier will be located in a secure, non-patient access area. Any PHI that is sent by LMC will carry a cover sheet with a disclosure of confidentiality instructing the recipient to destroy the document and contact us in the event that is was sent to a non-intended recipient.
Email: All computer terminals are kept confidential by use of passwords, and any PHI that is sent or received via e-mail will contain a disclosure of confidentiality instructing the recipient to destroy the document and contact us in the event that is was sent to a non-intended recipient.
Post / Courier: All mail, by whatever method, is sent indicating confidentiality. LMC will use certified medical carriers whenever possible, and sealed envelopes.
Office Environment: The medical records, fax, photocopier and computers will be kept in areas to which the public is not granted access. Any mobile devices such as notebook computers, Palm Pilots or similar electronic items, as well as patient lists, notes etc. will be personally carried or password protected or physically locked.
Patients will be treated only behind closed doors to ensure privacy. Corridor consultation between members of the health care team is discouraged and all verbal communication will occur in a secure area or without the use of names whenever possible. The office is monitored by alarm in order to prevent break in.