​​​Dear Colleagues,

January 28th is International Privacy Day. In 2014, so much of our lives and our work are online and involve personal information. How many of us haven't used Facebook or Twitter in the last month – or used Gmail, Google Drive or Dropbox to transfer a file? We all do it, but very few of us take the time to read the privacy agreements when we sign up for these services. So many of us trust our personal information, documents and photos in the hands of a corporation, without ever reading the agreement we sign with the company.

We take our own privacy for granted. But every day, patients place their trust in us to not only help and heal them, but to handle their confidential personal information securely.  A breach in privacy or security or loss of information could have serious consequences for all involved. As staff, it can affect our professional standing as well as causing legal action against the hospital and the potential for significant financial losses to correct the situation. For our patients, a privacy breach could mean that they lose trust in the hospital and in some instances it could even make them vulnerable to identity theft.

The responsibility to ensure that patient health information is collected, used and safeguarded appropriately and in accordance with hospital policy belongs to all of us. We can live up to this responsibility by following a few simple steps:

  • Order yourself an encrypted USB keys using the Hardware Order Form. Only store personal health information on the UHN network. If that's not possible, store the device on an encrypted USB drive.
  • If you're sending an email including personal health information, only send them to colleagues in the UHN network, using their emails found in the Outlook Global address directory.
  • Transfer files using UHN's File transfer service, UHN File Portal (Patient information setting)
  • Sign up for a privacy e-learning course or invite the Corporate Privacy Office to conduct a presentation that suits your department's needs.
  • Report any loss, theft or misuse of information through Risk Management's Incident Reporting e-form.


Where to find more Info:

To order an Encrypted portable Hardware (including USB):

To launch UHN File Portal (don't forget to choose the Patient Information setting):

To get more information or ask questions:


Bob Bell​

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