What is PHIPA?
The Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) came into effect in Ontario, on November 1, 2004. PHIPA prescribes rules for the collection, use, disclosure, security, transfer, retention and destruction of personal health information (PHI) in all types of healthcare settings, including hospitals, psychiatric facilities, laboratories, ambulance services, and nursing homes. PHIPA applies to all regulated health professionals (doctors, nurses, allied health professionals) and to non-regulated health professionals, who provide healthcare for payment, such as acupuncturists, psychotherapists, and ultrasonographers. PHIPA also gives patients (and Substitute Decision Makers) rights related to access their/the patients’ health records and how their health information is collected, used and disclosed (subject to legal exceptions). PHIPA defines personal health information (PHI) as identifiable information relating to an individual’s health and healthcare history. For example, information contained in medical files such as diagnostic, treatment and care information, OHIP numbers, genetic information and other health record details.
The Personal Health Information Protection Act
Who is affected by PHIPA?
PHIPA applies to “health information custodians” in Ontario. Health information custodians include hospitals, doctors, healthcare practitioners, long-term care facilities, healthcare clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other health-related organizations. The Act also applies to organizations outside the health system that receive information such as insurance companies, employers and schools.
What is Personal Health Information (PHI)?
Personal Health Information is defined as identifying information about an individual whether oral or recorded, if the information:
- Relates to the physical or mental health of the individual, including information that consists of the individual’s family health history
- Relates to the providing of healthcare 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 Long-Term Care Act, 1994 of the individual
- Relates to payments or eligibility of for healthcare in respect to the individual
- Relates to the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance, or is derived from testing of such body part or substance.
- Is the individual’s health number or,
- Identifies the individual’s substitute decision maker
How do I request access to my Personal Health Information?
Complete the Request for Access to a Record of Personal Health Information
Form and submit to:
- Health Information Management
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
700 Gordon Street, Whitby ON, L1N 5S9