Dear Colleagues,

I'm asking for your help in protecting personal health information (PHI) and your support of the Think Before you Copy campaign. It is also a 'heads up' about the technical solutions we are implementing to prevent the loss of PHI and some of the things you need to be aware of because of these technical solutions. These changes will greatly reduce the 'human error' component of lost data.

WHY NOW? -- Recently there have been two occasions when personal health information was lost outside the hospital. These portable devices – a laptop and a USB key -- had not been encrypted, as required by policy and by law, so two notification programs had to be conducted and an Order was issued by Ontario's Privacy Commissioner.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN? – We have designated August 31 as 'Delete/Move Day' and I'm asking you to delete any PHI they are storing that you no longer need and that you are not required to keep as part of a medical record or a research study. While this is underway, SIMS is also working to encrypt all UHN devices and installing software which will aid this encryption process. This is a gradual process that will take some time. We'll be sending out more communication about this shortly.

WHAT IS COMPLIANCE? -- In addition to installing encryption software on all devices, compliance also involves understanding how and when to delete unnecessary files containing PHI on devices and in email. Compliance is also the storage of PHI on the UHN network and using encrypted devices if you must travel with PHI data.

I know there will be some issues as a result of this mandatory encryption and we will work with the whole organization to solve those issues. You can click here for assistance in preparing for Delete/Move Day. Of course, if you want to start now, that's great.

Thank you in advance for taking this seriously and for doing everything that you can to protect the personal health information of our patients. This is our responsibility and one we accept when we become employees, clinicians, researchers and volunteers at UHN. Technology can help us and UHN will now use the full extent of that assistance to reduce the chance that PHI will be lost again outside the walls of the hospital.


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