UHN uses your information for the delivery of direct patient care, administration of the health care system, research, teaching, statistics, fundraising and to meet legal and regulatory requirements.
Examples of potential uses include:
Privacy Office. View the full
UHN is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. As a teaching institution, UHN uses health information for the purposes of research and teaching. UHN personnel may only collect and use the minimum amount of information necessary to fulfil the requirements for an approved study or purpose. Before researchers may access this information, UHN removes as much identifying information as possible. For example, you would always be asked if you want to be in a clinical trial or any other research that may have a direct impact on your care.
UHN is required to report certain pieces of information to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (billing information), the Canadian Institute for Health Information (coded discharge abstracts), Health Canada (public health surveillance) and Cancer Care Ontario (pathology reports). This is done to ensure the health care system is running optimally and to conduct statistical comparisons of population health characteristics over a broad geographical range.The collection, uses, disclosures and retentions described above are required as an ongoing component of UHN’s ability to provide health care to the population it serves, while working to enhance the health status of Canadians.
From time to time, you may be contacted by one of the
UHN foundations. The foundations are dedicated to supporting excellence in health care by raising funds for research, medical education and the improvement of patient care. You may request to be removed from our fundraising contact list at any point in time by contacting the
UHN Privacy Office or the appropriate UHN foundation.
UHN is required to send copies of patient information to several other organizations. This includes the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Toronto Public Health and Cancer Care Ontario.
Information may also be shared with clinicians outside of UHN (and staff who support these clinicians) who are directly involved in caring for our patients. UHN places appropriate safeguards on the transmission of all information disclosed to other organizations and seeks to ensure that health information protection measures are in place and in accordance with the Ontario Health Information Protection Act. Information may be sent to external care providers in many ways, including through electronic systems.
To learn more about the systems that UHN supports please visit the following:
UHN does not sell patient information to drug companies or to anyone else.
UHN requires patient consent or a court order to disclose health information to any organization or person not directly involved with the provision of patient care. UHN will ensure that proper controls are in place to only disclose what is required.
You have a right to access your personal health information, and UHN has an obligation to make it available to you, with limited exceptions. Exceptions are made if releasing your information would put yourself or a third party at risk – UHN may choose not to disclose some or all of that information.
When you are a patient at UHN, you should ask your health care provider for information that you want to know. If your request is voluminous or substantial or not covered by the information available to the attending health care provider, you will be referred to
UHN’s Health Records. After you have left UHN, you will need to contact Health Records to obtain or view your UHN patient record. Please allow a reasonable amount of time for UHN to locate your record.
Health Records will ask you to present the proper form of identification in order for you to access your chart. You may access your own personal information, however, you may not access third-party information (information about individuals other than yourself) that may be in your patient chart. If your chart contains third-party information, it may take up to 30 days to have this information removed from your chart so that you may view it.
There is no charge for access, but there is a processing fee associated with requesting a photocopy of the chart.
Although you have the right to access your charts, this right does not automatically extend to family members and/or friends. If you consent to let a friend or family member see your chart, then the friend/family member may access the part(s) that you have consented to let them see.
If you are unable to give consent for a friend or family member to access your chart due to reasons of competency or consciousness, the consent decision falls to the appointed substitute decision maker, such as a parent or guardian. This person is bound by law to act on your behalf and must make decisions based on their belief of what you would wish done if you were able to decide.
Only UHN staff involved in your care may access your patient record. All UHN staff are bound by a strict confidentiality agreement, which is signed as a condition of employment. This agreement seeks to ensure staff only access information on a need-to-know basis.
UHN releases discharge summaries to family physicians. UHN will release other information to your family physician to support your care.
Yes. If you have concerns about unauthorized personnel accessing your information, you can make a request to the
Privacy Office or
Patient Relations to view all accesses to your UHN patient chart. The UHN Privacy Office will provide this information to you in a timely manner. If you have further concerns upon receipt of your audit report, you may make a complaint to the
UHN Corporate Privacy Officer who will pursue the issue on your behalf.
No, health information is not publicly available on the Internet. UHN may use the Internet to transfer unidentifiable health information securely through the Virtual Private Network or email system. These systems are secured by a combination of authentication and encryption.
There are 3 components to protecting patient information at UHN:
When you call UHN, staff has no way to verify that you are who you say you are. Therefore, in order to protect patient privacy, only a minimal amount of information is given out over the phone.
Despite the pressures of an acute-care hospital setting, staff make every effort to discuss health information confidentially.
A core record of your care at UHN is maintained in a central electronic patient record. Many departments within UHN, including Radiology and some of the clinics you may visit, also maintain an additional record of your personal health information.
In general, patient records are kept for 10 years past the date of last admission. For the purpose of research, some patient groups’ medical records are kept for longer.