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Ontario Protecting Privacy in Electronic Health Records


Ontario Protecting Privacy in Electronic Health Records

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

The Ontario government is introducing legislation today to support its commitment to have a province-wide electronic health record system in place by 2015.

The proposed changes would protect the privacy of personal health information contained in electronic health records that are shared by health care providers in a patient's circle of care.

The government worked closely with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario on the proposed amendments to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act.

The proposed amendments would:

  • Establish privacy and security requirements for shared electronic health records
  • Clarify the authorities under which health care providers may collect, use and disclose personal health information in electronic health records
  • Support quality clinical care for patients by reducing medication errors that can arise for patients taking more than one drug
  • Outline rules respecting an individual's right to mask his or her personal health information through a consent directive
  • Clarify the limited circumstances under which a health care provider may override an individual's consent directive to reduce significant risk of serious bodily harm when timely consent is not possible
  • Establish an advisory committee whose role would be to make recommendations to the Minister on matters related to shared electronic health records

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