The Staff of Niverville Medical Clinic (NMC) will ensure the protection of the confidentiality of any personal health information (PHI) accessed in the course of providing patient care. We will only collect, use and disclose health information that is required for the purposes of providing care.
Consent is implied for the collection, use, and disclosure of PHI for ourselves and to other health professionals accessed in the routine process of care of patients associated with this clinic.
No consent from the patient is required when the disclosure is mandated by legislation.
Written consent is required for PHI to be shared with a third party for reasons other than care and treatment i.e. insurance. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
All Staff are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, including persons using the clinic’s electronic medical records (EMR) in the course of providing patient care.
RETENTION OF RECORDS:
NMC will retain patient records as required by law, and regulation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. All charts are retained for a minimum of 10 years after the last entry, or 10 years after the patient has reached the age of majority.
DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS:
NMC will destroy the records only after the requirements for retention have been fulfilled. Destruction will occur in a way that protects patient privacy in accordance with regulations made by the College of Physician and Surgeons of Manitoba.
PATIENT ACCESS TO RECORDS:
Requests for access or copies of medical records can be made in writing to NMC from another health care provider the patient is seeing or their new health care provider by faxing a signed consent by both provider and patient. Chart transfers will be done adhering to the Guidelines of the Manitoba Medical Association, within one month after receiving payment of $30.
Refusal of access to medical records will occur in the following circumstances:
- If the individual requesting access is someone other than the patient to which the record refers, with the exception being the legal guardian of a minor, unless written consent is obtained from the patient naming the specific designated individual or third party.
- If the information could reasonably endanger the mental or physical health or safety of the patient to which the record refers, or any other individual.
- If the disclosure would reveal PHI about another person who has not consented to the disclosure.
A patient who feels that NMC has not provided appropriate access to their PHI, or has handled their PHI in an inappropriate manner is urged to address their concerns to the NMC Office Manager in writing. If the outcome of this process is not satisfactory, a complaint may be forwarded to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba.
PROTECTION VIA COMMUNICATION:
ANSWERING MACHINES / MESSAGES: In the event that NMC needs to contact a patient for any reason and communication is occurring via an answering machine or through another individual via a message, the only information transferred by NMC Staff will be a request for a call back. Exceptions to this will include:
- If the patient is a minor and the telephone contact is made with the legal guardian,
- If a consent to leave PHI on an answering machine or with another individual has been documented in the patient’s record, and
- If the physician concludes there is a risk to personal health or safety that is grave enough to warrant breach of the patient’s right to privacy.
FAX: The fax machine and copier will be located in a secure, non-patient access area. Any PHI that is sent by NMC will carry a cover sheet with a disclosure of confidentiality instructing the recipient to destroy the document and contact us in the event that is was sent to a non-intended recipient.
E-MAIL: All computer terminals are kept confidential by use of passwords and any PHI that is sent or received via e-mail will contain a disclosure of confidentiality instructing the recipient to destroy the document and contact us in the event that is was sent to a non-intended recipient. No e-mails will be sent from unsecure accounts unless specifically requested and agreed upon with the patient.
POST / COURIER: All mail, by whatever method, is sent indicating confidentiality. NMC will use certified medical carriers whenever possible, and sealed envelopes.
The medical records, fax, photocopier and computers will be kept in areas to which the public is not granted access. Any computer in public area will be password protected.
Patients will be treated only behind closed doors to ensure privacy.
A radio station or other sound will be broadcast at all times in the waiting room to minimize the ability to overhear conversations occurring between staff and patients, either directly or by phone.
Corridor consultation between members of the health care team is discouraged and all verbal communication will occur in a secure area or without the use of names whenever possible.
The office is monitored by alarm in order to prevent break in.