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Frequently asked questions


What is a health record?

The health record consists of all information collected by a health-care organization pertaining to patient/client care. This includes both personal information (i.e. name, gender, DOB, address) and Personal Health Information (such as health card number, medical history and diagnosis). Health records are the property of SickKids CCMH. 

What is Personal Health Information (PHI)?

PHI is “identifying information” collected about an individual in oral or recorded form. It includes information such as:
  • your physical or mental health, including family history;
  • the health-care services you receive;
  • your health-care number; and
  • other information relating to your health and health-care history.

What is the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)?

PHIPA is Ontario’s health-specific privacy legislation. PHIPA governs the way in which PHI may be collected, used and disclosed within the health-care system. It also regulates individuals and organizations that receive PHI from health-care professionals and confirms your right to access your own PHI. SickKids CCMH and all its employees, board members, volunteers, students, contractors and vendors are required to follow PHIPA. SickKids CCMH is committed to remaining up-to-date with amendments to privacy legislation and best practices in Ontario.

Can my Personal Health Information (PHI) be sent via email?

Due to the sensitive nature of PHI and to protect your privacy, we do not release PHI by email.

I have requested access to my health record. When can I expect my request to be completed?

In accordance with PHIPA, the Health Records department will process your request within 30 days. If your request is urgent, please specify on the consent form and we will do our best to accommodate. It is possible in some circumstances that the department may require more than 30 days to complete a request. In this instance, you will be given written notice for a 30-day extension.

Can I request access to my child’s health record without their consent?

A parent, guardian or SDM may request access to their child’s health record provided they are under 12 years of age and/or incapable of providing consent. Proof of incapability and/or guardianship status may be required. Please request your health information from the Health Records department.

What records will SickKids CCMH have on file?

Only records regarding treatment and records provided to SickKids CCMH to support care are stored. To inquire about whether or not SickKids CCMH has your health record, please request your health information from the Health Records department.    

What happens if I am inquiring about records of a deceased patient?

Please request your health information from the Health Records department. Proof of your legal signing authority is required.

What is the “Circle of Care”?

The term “Circle of Care” is commonly used to describe the ability of health-care providers to collect, use or disclose PHI for the purpose of providing health care, on the basis of implied consent. This means that SickKids CCMH may be allowed to share your PHI with another health-care provider that is currently participating in your care, if it is done for the purpose of maintaining or improving the quality of care you receive.

To whom does SickKids CCMH disclose Personal Health Information?

SickKids CCMH may disclose your PHI with:
  • other health-care providers involved in your Circle of Care, provided you haven’t withdrawn your consent;
  • any third party, including family members, provided that you have consented;
  • a relative, friend or potential substitute decision-maker without consent, if you are injured, incapacitated, ill or unable to give consent personally, or where it is reasonably necessary to provide you with health care and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
  • public and law enforcement authorities as permitted and required by law (for example, to report communicable diseases or by warrant or subpoena); and
  • the officer in charge of a psychiatric facility, with or without consent, for purposes of examining, assessing, observing or detaining individuals under the Mental Health Act.

Can I withdraw my consent for disclosure of my Personal Health Information? 

Patients/clients are permitted to withdraw consent at any time by notifying the Health Records department in writing. Withdrawal will not apply to that which was released prior to receiving the withdrawal request.

How can I request correction to information contained in my record?

If you believe that your health record contains inaccurate information or is incomplete, it is your right under the Ontario’s Health Privacy law – PHIPA – to request corrections to your health record. This can be done by submitting a request in writing to the Health Records department.

How do I make a complaint if I feel my rights have been violated?

We encourage you to inform us if you feel we are mishandling your PHI. You can do this by:

Phone: 416-924-1164 ext. 8725
Fax: 416-373-2003
Email:   healthrecords@sickkidscmh.ca
Mail:    SickKids CCMH
Health Records Department
440 Jarvis St.
Toronto, ON  M4Y 2H4

  
You have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you think we have violated your rights pertaining to your PHI. The Commissioner can be reached by:
 
Phone:   416-326-3948 
Fax:     416-325-9195 
E-Mail: commissioner@ipc.on.ca 
Mail:    Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
1400-2 Bloor St. E.
Toronto, ON  M4W 1A8 
www.ipc.on.ca