Privacy Information for Patients, Families & Visitors
Your Privacy is Important to Us
Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance is committed to keeping your personal health information safe and confidential. We are continually monitoring policies and procedures to further protect the privacy of your information.
You have the right to:
- Have your personal health information kept private and secure
- Be informed if your personal health information has been lost, stolen or inappropriately accessed
- Request to view or receive a copy of your personal health information
- Request a correction to your personal health information if you feel it is inaccurate or incomplete
- Request that we restrict the use or sharing of your personal health information. We will comply with your wishes unless it conflicts with our legal requirements.
Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)
PHIPA is provincial legislation that protects personal information, including health information. It sets out ten principles that organizations, individuals, associations, partnerships and trade unions must follow when collecting, using and disclosing personal information in the course of a commercial activity.
Wingham: 519-357-3711 Ext. 6225
Listowel: 519-291-3125 Ext. 6225
See Below for Frequently Asked Questions!
The information we collect from you is used:
- To provide you with quality health care in our hospital and to share with those providing you with health care outside our hospital (eg. your family physician, long term care home).
- To carry out quality assurance to help us improve
- For patient satisfaction surveys to see how we are doing by paper, email or URL link.
- For our patient directory so that we can provide your location in the hospital should your friends or family contact us and ask for you by name.
- To comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
- For fundraising for equipment and facilities to provide you with the most modern health care services.
- For health research to make us the best we can be
- To educate and keep current health care providers up to date and to train new health care providers for the future.
- For health system planning
- To send appointment reminders to patients via telephone, mail or email.
- To obtain payment for your care and other services
- To share with provincial networks and registries
If your information is to be used for other purposes, your specific permission would be required first.
Ontario has a law that protects your personal health information. We aim to keep your personal health information safe from theft, loss or unauthorized access. We do this whenever we collect, use, share or dispose of your personal health information. LWHA strives to protect both your personal information and your personal health information by:
- Teaching all staff about confidentiality. All staff, physicians, volunteers, etc. must sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of their relationship with the hospital.
- Require that all staff wear photo identification at all times while on hospital property to protect against unauthorized individuals accessing information.
- Applying additional security measures to all electronic health records (eg. User names and password, firewalls, and antivirus software).
- Locked doors
LWHA is partnered with organizations in Southwest Ontario to provide you with health care using shared electronic patient record systems. LWHA shares your information with:
- The hospital releases information to family physicians to facilitate your continuing care.
- Health care providers at other hospitals, nursing homes or other health care agencies who become part of your health care team. Information is shared for the purpose of your continuing care in the community.
- Agencies, for example OHIP, extended health insurance companies, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Ministry of Health.
- We may confirm that you are a patient, your room number and a general, high level condition report to individuals who contact the organization to inquire about you by name unless you request otherwise.
- Your name and address to the hospital’s foundation for the purpose of fundraising for the hospital.
- Other agencies as required by law, for example, Public Health Surveillance.
- Provincial networks and registries, eg. Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), Electronic Child Health Network(eCHN), Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), etc.
The information we collect from you is used:
- To provide you with quality health care and follow-up care in the community. We need your information to make sure we can make the appropriate diagnosis and provide treatment.
- Unless you request otherwise, we may provide limited information to individuals who contact the hospital asking about you. For example, we may confirm that you are a patient at the hospital, your room number and a general, high level condition report such as “good, fair, serious or critical”
- If you do not wish your presence at the hospital acknowledged, please notify Patient Registration when you arrive or inform your healthcare provider. If you request this, anyone calling or attending at the hospital would be told that we have no information on a patient by that name. This does not affect the use of your information for other purposes, e.g. to provide you health care.
- To carry out quality assurance to help make us better. By reviewing the care we provide to patients, we can determine what strategies are most successful.
- To ask you how we are doing. You may be asked to participate in surveys by either the hospital or by specific programs or departments in the hospital that participated in your care.
- To comply with the law, e.g.:
- The law requires hospitals to disclose your personal health information if there is a legal investigation.
- We also use your information to obtain funding for health services from the Ministry of Health.
- For fundraising. Your name and address are provided to the hospital’s Foundation so they may contact you to see if you wish to make a donation. Donations by our patients and members of the community raise money for equipment and facilities to provide you with the most modern health care services. The hospital does not provide names of patients who have certain more sensitive procedures or diagnoses to the Foundation. The hospital does not release your health information, e.g. your diagnosis or treatment, to the Foundation.
- For health research purposes.
For education to keep existing health care practitioners up-to-date.
LHSC shares the following systems with the hospitals listed for each system:
- Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
- Our EMR houses information about you and the health care you receive at each hospital. Only those staff and affiliates who may need access to information about your visits to other hospitals are granted this broader level of access.
- Examples of information stored in the EMR are:
- Demographic information, e.g. your name, address, phone number, Health Card Number
- A list of visits to each partnered organization that includes the date of the visit, type, e.g. inpatient or outpatient, the medical service you visited, e.g. Orthopedics, the Attending Physician for that visit and a brief description for the reason for the visit.
- Documentation that has been dictated through the hospital’s central dictation system. Examples of this documentation are discharge summaries, clinic notes, notes from a surgical procedure, called an operative summary.
- Diagnostic tests, e.g. laboratory and x-ray tests and their results.
- Picture Archive Communication System (PACS)
- PACS is the system that collects demographic information about you, physicians’ orders for imaging, the images and reports of the findings. Only those staff and affiliates who require this type of information have access to PACS, e.g. Physicians, Nurses, Radiology Technologists.
- Digital Imaging Repository (DI-r)
- A DI-r is a system that collects a copy of x-ray images, demographic information, physician orders for the tests as well as the reports of the findings from each of the PAC systems from the partnered organizations. Only those staff and affiliates who require this type of information have access to PACS, e.g. Physicians, Nurses, Radiology Technologists.
Although you have the right to access your health record, this right does not automatically extend to family members and/or friends. If you consent to let a friend or family member see your record, then the friend/family members may access part(s) that you have consented to let them see.
Unless you request otherwise, we will provide limited information, e.g. to acknowledge that you are a patient at the hospital, your room number and a high level condition report. We do not provide a lot of information over the phone because we have no way to verify who is calling and what their relationship is to you.
The only persons whom the hospital authorizes to access a patient record are the staff and physicians involved in a patient’s care, or staff who need information from a patient record to conduct the business of the hospital, e.g., the Finance department staff that sends a bill to a patient’s extended health insurance company. All staff and hospital affiliates are bound by hospital policies and practices related to privacy and confidentiality. These policies aim to ensure that staff only access information on a need-to-know basis. Regulated Health Professionals are also bound by privacy and confidentiality requirements from their professional Colleges.
Please contact the Privacy Office (see below) if you have concerns about unauthorized access to your health information, or about any other concerns you have about Privacy issues. We will ensure that your concerns are investigated promptly and a response is provided to you in a timely manner.
Wingham: 519-357-3711 Ext. 6254
Listowel: 519-291-3125 Ext. 6254
On occasion patients may receive virtual care depending on the health care needs and the discipline. There are risks associated with virtual health care. By receiving virtual health care you are consenting to the following risks:
- Virtual health care may increase the risk of the patient’s identifiable health information being unintentionally disclosed or intercepted by third parties;
- Although LWHA makes reasonable effort to protect privacy and secure patient’s confidential information, it is not possible to completely secure electronic information and therefore the security and confidentiality of the virtual health care services cannot be guaranteed;
- It is the responsibility of the patient to take steps to protect their privacy when receiving virtual health care (e.g. confirming their identity with their health care provider as appropriate; using the virtual health care platform only from a private location, on their own computer or device, and on a password-protected Wi-Fi network; and not recording the virtual health care appointment);
- Privacy laws will continue to apply, and, accordingly, patient information may be used or disclosed as permitted or required by law (e.g. if there is a risk of harm to an individual or a child is in need of protection under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017).
LWHA has adopted the 10 Privacy Principles of Ontario law PHIPA.
- Accountability— LWHA is responsible for all personal information under our control and we have a designated a privacy officer and chief privacy officer who are accountable for the organization’s compliance at our hospitals. We educate our staff and other affiliates about privacy policies and practices, and respond to complaints and inquiries.
- Identifying Purposes— LWHA will identify the purpose for which personal information is collected at or before the time of collection. These purposes are conveyed by means of posters, TVs in public areas, brochures and this website.
The primary purpose to collect, use and share personal health information is to deliver health care. We also use your information for administrative purposes, research, teaching, statistics, fundraising, and to comply with our legal and regulatory requirements.
- Consent— Your knowledge and consent is required for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. We rely on your implied consent for some purposes such as patient care. You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, unless the collection, use or disclosure is required or permitted by law.
- Limiting Collection— Only personal information that is necessary for the purposes identified is collected.
- Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention— Personal information may only be used for purposes for which it was collected, except with your consent, or as required by law. Personal information will be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes and will be securely destroyed in accordance with the legislation.
- Accuracy— LWHA will make every effort to ensure your personal information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. You have the right to challenge the accuracy of the information.
- Safeguards— LWHA applies security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of personal health information to aim to protect it against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification, regardless of its format. Protection may include physical measures (i.e., locked filing cabinets and restricted access), organizational measures (limiting access on a “need-to-know” basis), and technological measures (use of passwords, encryption and audits). New staff and affiliates are required to complete privacy and confidentiality education and sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment or affiliation. Contracted agents are bound to privacy and confidentiality as a condition of the contract.
- Openness— LWHA has made privacy policies and practices about the management of personal information available through means of posters, brochures, TVs in public areas and our website. Information provided includes contact information for our privacy officer, process for you to access your personal health information, and description of the type of personal health information held by the hospital.
Individual Access – Upon request, you shall be informed of the existence, use and disclosure your personal information, and shall be given access to that information. You have the right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.
- Challenging Compliance— You may challenge our hospital’s compliance with the above principles by contacting our privacy officer. We will investigate all complaints and if justified we will take appropriate measures, including, if necessary, amending our policies and practices. You also have the right to contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario about your rights or complaints that cannot be resolved with our hospital.