Privacy and Confidentiality
IWK and your Personal Health Information
At the IWK, we are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal health information. We collect, use and disclose the personal health information you entrust to us for a number of purposes, which we summarize in this poster. Our employees and other authorized persons are only allowed to collect, use and disclose the personal health information they need to: (1) fulfill their roles and (2) for purposes permitted under Nova Scotia law, in particular the Personal Health information Act (PHIA).
Collection of Personal Health Information
The personal health information collected by the IWK may include:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Health history
- Provincial health card number
- Other information about the tests, procedures and care you received.
We collect personal health information directly from you or the person acting on your behalf. Sometimes we ask other health professionals or health care organizations involved in your care for your personal health information. This helps us to provide care. The IWK may collect personal health information from other sources, if the law allows, or with your consent. We may collect and store personal health information in different ways - such as your paper chart, electronic files and images.
Uses and Disclosures of Personal Health Information
We use and disclose your personal health information in order to:
- Treat and care for you during your stay.
- Help other health professionals outside our organization who are involved in your care to provide health services to you. For example, this could include your family doctor, pharmacist, public health nurse, physiotherapist, etc.
- Receive payment from your provincial health care plan, private insurer, or other body for delivering care to you.
- Support the IWK’s educational activities, as we are a teaching hospital.
- Conduct quality improvement and risk management activities.
- Conduct patient satisfaction surveys.
- Conduct research, if you give your express consent. Note: With Research Ethics Board review and approval to protect your privacy and legislation such as PHIA, your personal health information can be used for research without your consent only if strict procedures are in place to make sure that information is anonymous.
- Let your family and friends know that you are in hospital, your room and telephone extension, and general condition (for example, fair, good) on the day they request the information.
- Ask a representative of a faith group (such as a spiritual leader) to visit you during your stay, if you identify this group.
- Plan and manage our internal operations: for example, bed management, staff scheduling.
- Enable the Department of Health and Wellness to plan and manage the health care system.
- Fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law: for example, reporting abuse, reporting communicable diseases.
You have the right to:
- Request a copy of your personal health information; complete attached Release of Information Authorization Form subject to Fee Schedule
- Request a correction be made;
- Request a record of who has accessed your personal health information in an electronic information system;
- Be advised of a breach of your personal health information;
- Make a complaint about a concern related to your privacy (complete attached Complaint Form); and
- Request a review by the Provincial Review Officer of the IWK’s decisions or actions.
You may choose not to give your consent for us to use and disclose your personal health information. We will do what we reasonably can to comply with your wishes. If you ask us, we will not do the following with your personal health information:
- Not give it out to confirm your status as a patient. As soon as you are admitted to hospital, please tell staff working in your unit or department that you want us to keep it private (from friends or family) that you are a patient here.
- Not disclose it to a specific health professional or to another health organization involved in your care.
- Not use it for IWK educational activities or patient satisfaction surveys.
- Not notify a religious representative.
Access to Information
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) is provincial access and privacy legislation that applies to the IWK Health Centre. FOIPOP establishes a right of access to records in the custody or control of the IWK Health Centre for the purposes of accountability and transparency. FOIPOP balances the right to information with the protection of personal and confidential information.
How to make a FOIPOP Request
To submit a FOIPOP request, complete the Application for Access to a Record (Form 1) with the $5 application fee and send it to:
IWK Health Centre
5850/5980 University Avenue
PO Box 9700
Halifax, NS B3K 6R8