As health care providers we must collect a certain amount of personal information from you in order to safely treat you. It is extremely important that this information be collected responsibly and that it only be disclosed to other individuals under appropriate circumstances. This document details your rights and how we, at Liam O’Reilly Massage Therapy, protect your personal information.
What is personal information?
Personal information is information about identifiable individuals. Personal information includes information that relates to:
- an individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or telephone number, ethnic background, family status)
- health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them)
- activities and views (e.g., opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual).
Personal information is different from business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number). This is not protected by privacy legislation.
What is personal health information?
Personal health information means identifying information about an individual in oral or recorded form, if the information,
- relates to the physical or mental health of the individual, including information that consists of the health history of the individual’s family,
- relates to the providing of health care to the individual, including the identification of a person as a provider of health care to the individual,
- is a plan of service within the meaning of the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994 for the individual,
- relates to payments or eligibility for health care, or eligibility for coverage for health care, in respect of the individual,
- relates to the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance of the individual or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance, is the individual’s health number, or identifies an individual’s substitute decision-maker
Who can see your personal health information?
When you request health care from us, we assume that we have your permission to collect, use and share that information with your other health care providers. This is limited only to those providers who you have actually seen, or have booked an appointment to see, for health care; other providers are not entitled to your information, except in the cases we have listed below.
If you do not want us to use, share or give out some or all of your personal health information to other people who provide you with health care, please inform us as soon as possible.
Other agencies or companies, such as your employer or your insurance company, may request to see part of your health care information. However, we cannot share information with these companies without your express permission. Please note that if you refuse permission to share requested information with a health insurance provider, or if you do not respond to my request for permission to share, your insurance provider may deny your claim.
You may also have family or friends to whom you would like us to give more detailed information about your health, like how your treatment is working or what kind of care you will need at home. You can let us know if we can discuss your health with family and friends. We must have your consent in order to do so.
When Your Consent is Not Required
We are allowed or may be required to use and/or give out some of your personal health information without consent in the following situations:
- to report certain information, such as diseases or infections that would pose an immediate risk to the general public, to public health authorities
- when we suspect certain types of abuse
- to reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm to a person or the public
- to assist health researchers for research, as long as strict privacy requirements are met – e.g. you would never be personally identified in these cases
- to transfer or sell the professional practice to another health care professional who is regulated by the province of Ontario
- for administration or enforcement of laws about the practices of health care providers, such as when my regulatory College (the CMTO) does a peer assessment with me
- for the purpose of a legal proceeding or complying with a court order or other legal requirement
Marketing and Personal Information
Your personal information will never be provided to anyone for marketing purposes. We may use your contact information to remind you of essential business and planning information such as notifications and reminders of upcoming appointments, changes of practice hours or location, or rate changes. We will request your express consent before sending you any other information such as health tips or newsletters.
We understand the importance of protecting your personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under the supervision of a health care professional who is regulated by the province of Ontario or secured in a locked cabinet or safe.
- Computers and backups are password protected and under the supervision of a health care professional who is regulated by the province of Ontario. When not in use, they are closed down and/or locked in a cabinet or safe.
- Electronic information is transmitted only through a secure and encrypted service and/or has identifiers removed.
Retention of Personal Information
We are required to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any question you may have about the services provided and for our own accountability to the College of Massage Therapists (CMTO).
We retain client files for 10 years for all clients who are over 18 years of age, as required by the CMTO. For any client who is under 18 years of age, we retain files for 10 years after that client’s 18th birthday.
We destroy paper files containing personal information by shredding. We destroy electronic information by deleting it and, when any hardware is discarded, physically destroying the hard drive.
Viewing your own personal information
With a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you. We will try to help you understand any information that may be unclear (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). If you would like a copy of your personal information, please make your request in writing. Liam O’Reilly Massage Therapy reserves the right to charge a nominal fee for time spents and any related expenses for such requests.
Some exceptions may apply. For example, when the information relates to law enforcement, legal proceedings or another individual, you may not get to see the record.
We must respond to your request as soon as possible and within 30 days. There may be a delay if we have to ask others about your records or if it will take time to find the record. You have the right to be notified of such delays. If you require the record urgently, please let us know and we will do our best to get it to you.
If you believe there is a mistake in your information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. You must make this request in writing, stating specifically what in your record is incorrect or incomplete.
Note that we cannot correct a record that was created by someone else as we do not know enough about the record to change it. Also, we cannot correct details where, for example, the opinions or observations in the record were made in good faith. You are entitled to be told the reasons for not making a correction and of your right to have a statement of disagreement attached to your records. You can also ask to have this statement made available to those who see the record.
If we correct a record, it must be done carefully so that the full corrected record remains visible or by ensuring that the corrected version is readily available.
If you would like further information, you can contact Liam O’Reilly at the clinic. I would be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. As well, if you have a formal complaint to make concerning my privacy practices, you should contact me in writing. The address of the clinic is:
Liam O’Reilly Massage Therapy
80 Carlton Street
I will respond to your concerns promptly. If, after discussing the issue with me, I am still not able to resolve your complaint or concern, you have the right to make a formal complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. This must be done within one year of the matter you are complaining about. Their office can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
Telephone: 416 326 3333 or 1 800 387 0073
Facsimile: 416 325 9195
TTY: 416 325 7539
Email address: email@example.com