2020-04-16

Practical Paranoia - Important message from our CEO

We've previously posted about additive privacy and security challenges emerging in the context of a pandemic.

Dr. Verna Yiu reminds us about the vigilance needed to avoid situations where our pandemic activities increase the risk of privacy breaches:

Dear AHS staff, physicians and volunteers,

Protecting privacy and ensuring that patient information remains confidential is as important now as it has ever been.

During this state of emergency, our obligations to our patients have not changed. The Health Information Act (HIA), the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), AHS’ privacy policy and best practices still apply.

We each have a duty to protect the information entrusted to us. We can only collect, use, access, and disclose the information needed to perform our AHS job, duties, and responsibilities. As healthcare professionals, our patients trust us to appropriately access and safeguard their health and personal information. We must always remain fully committed to ensuring this trust is never broken through inappropriate collection, access, use, or disclosure.

Under no circumstances should staff or physicians access or disclose health records of individuals they are not providing a health care service to. For example accessing information outside of your role – even if your reason is concern for colleagues, friends, neighbours or loved ones – is a privacy breach.

A privacy breach occurs when there is an unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, access to, or disposal of personal or health information. It’s a serious matter that will be investigated by our Privacy team and could result in potential workplace disciplinary action, college sanctions, fines, and/or criminal charges. It is your individual responsibility to report any breach you discover, even if it did not originate from you. Report privacy breaches here.

I encourage each of you to be vigilant and advocate for patient privacy and the confidentiality of our information. If you need support or are unsure what information you can and cannot access in your AHS role, speak with your manager or contact infocare@ahs.ca. More information is available on the InfoCare Insite pages.

Sincerely,
Dr. Verna Yiu
AHS President and CEO


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