Privacy Policy

The Guelph Family Health Team’s mission is to champion the development and delivery of high quality collaborative health care that informs and assists our patients to make decisions that maximize their wellness potential. As part of our mission, we are committed to promoting privacy and protecting the confidentiality of the health information we hold about you.

Our doctors belong to a Family Health Organization and they are each health information custodians under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA). For the purposes of privacy obligations, the Guelph Family Health Team and our staff are agents of the doctors and the Family Health Organization. This means we all follow the same rules and work together to protect your privacy.

YOUR HEALTH RECORD: Your health record includes information relevant to your health including your date of birth, contact information, health history, family health history, record of your visits, the care and support you received during those visits, results from tests and procedures, and information from other health care providers. Your record at our clinic is our property, but the information in your file belongs to you.

You have the right to access your health record in a timely manner. If you request a copy of your record, one will be provided to you at a reasonable cost. If you wish to view the original record, one of our staff must be present, and a reasonable fee may be charged for this access. If you need a copy of your health record, please contact our privacy officer in writing or ask your physician or care provider who will explain the process. In extremely rare situations you may be denied access to some or all of your record.

We make every effort to ensure that all of your information is recorded accurately. Please let us know if there is something that is incorrect. You have a right to ask for a correction to your record if you disagree with what is recorded.

OUR PRACTICES: We collect, use and disclose your health information to:

  • Treat and care for you
  • Deliver our programs
  • Plan, administer and manage our internal operations
  • Provide appointment reminders to you
  • Conduct risk management, error management and quality improvement activities
  • Educate our staff and students
  • Dispose of your information
  • Seek your consent (or consent of a substitute decision maker) where appropriate
  • Respond to or initiate proceedings
  • Be paid or process, monitor, verify or reimburse claims for payment

Our collection, use and disclosure (sharing) of your health information are done in accordance with Ontario law.

YOUR CHOICES: You have a right to make choices and control how your health information at Guelph Family Health Team is collected, used, and disclosed, subject to a few exceptions. For most health care purposes, your consent to use your health information is implied as a result of your consent to treatment, unless you tell us otherwise. We may also collect, use and share your health information in order to communicate or consult with other health care providers about your care unless you tell us you do not want us to do so.

You have the right to ask that we not share some or all of your health record with Guelph Family Health Team staff members or ask us not to share your health record with your external health care providers (such as a specialist). This is known as asking for a “lockbox”. If you would like to know more, ask anyone for a copy of our “Patient Lockbox Information Brochure: How to Restrict Access to your Health Record”.

There are other circumstances where we are not allowed to assume we have your consent to share information. For example, we must have your permission to give your health information to people who do not provide you with health care, like your insurance company or your employer. We may also need consent to communicate with any family members or friends with whom you would like us to give more detailed information about your health.

If we ask for your consent, you may choose to say no. If you say yes, you may change your mind at any time. Once you say no – we will no longer share your information unless you say so. Your choice to say no may be subject to some restrictions and reasonable notice.

However, there are cases where we may collect, use or disclose (meaning share) your health information without your consent as permitted or required by law. For example, we do not require your consent for using or disclosing your information for billing, risk management or quality improvement purposes or to fulfill our mandatory reporting obligations.

Email Policy

The Guelph Family Health team communicates with patients in several different ways including via email. Email communication has many advantages including that it allows for timely communication of important information.

The Guelph Family Health Team may choose to use email communication for the purpose of sending out appointment reminders, letters, handouts, updates on programs and services, health promotion and other generic notifications. We may share your email information with other health care providers who are providing you with health care. We may also use your email to keep you informed of your referral status when you have been referred to another health care provider. Please note that we have set up safeguards to protect your personal health information from theft, loss, unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.

While email communication has many advantages, it also comes with a few risks that we want to be sure you are aware of.  Please review the following information carefully – we would like to be sure that you understand and accept these risks before agreeing to communicate with your provider via email:

  • Email communication is not considered to be private or secure
  • Employers and online services may have a legal right to inspect and keep emails that pass through their system
  • Emails are easier to falsify than handwritten or signed hard copies. In addition, it is impossible to verify the true identity of the sender, or to ensure that only the recipient can read the email once it has been sent.
  • Emails can introduce viruses into a computer system, and potentially damage or disrupt the computer
  • Emails can be forwarded, intercepted, circulated, stored or even changed without the knowledge or permission of the physician or the patient
  • An email sender could misaddress an email, resulting in it being sent to an unintended and unknown recipient
  • Emails are permanent. Even after the sender and recipient have deleted their copies of the email, back-up copies may exist on a computer or in cyberspace.
  • Emails can be used as evidence in court

 

To mitigate some of these risks, both parties will assume the following responsibilities:

GUELPH FAMILY HEALTH TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES
As an organization, we are committed to respecting the guidelines set out by Personal Health Information Privacy Act (PHIPA).  All Guelph Family Health Team employees and providers have signed and are bound by the clinic’s privacy policy, which outlines the absolute confidentiality of patient information.  As such, we take every measure to secure your privacy and do not use your email address for any reason that has not been outlined above. We will use the minimum necessary amount of personal health information when communicating information to you.

All patient emails are stored on a securely password-protected.  Communication between all electronic devices, used at the clinic, and the clinic’s server are encrypted using “Secure Socket Layer” (SSL) protocols. Firewalls are also used on our systems to prevent unauthorized access to our networks and to stop Spam, viruses, and other unwanted content before they reach our infrastructure and users.

PATIENT RESPONSIBILITIES
As the patient, you must ensure that you are providing us with your email address that is private, and not accessed by anyone other than yourself. You should ensure that your email is protected with encryption software, otherwise understand that by not using an encrypted email may increase the risk of your privacy being violated. Should you change your email address, please update the clinic as soon as possible.

 

Wellness Workshop Webinar Policy

The Guelph Family Health Team offers virtual Wellness Workshop webinars in a variety of wellness topics.

Our facilitator will strive to provide you with a safe and respectful environment to learn in. You do NOT have to participate in any activities that make you feel uncomfortable. There are no known risks to participating. Please note that attendance at all FHT workshops is documented.

CLASS GUIDELINES 
Although our classes are meant to be fun and informal, it is important that all participants respect a few class ‘guidelines’:

  • Confidentiality: All information shared by other patients in the workshop is confidential. Please do not share this information with others outside of the workshop. This also includes the identities of other participants.
  • Respect for Facilitator: Please respect the facilitator’s efforts to lead the class and stay on topic
  • Respect for Group Participants: Please do not interrupt or criticize others’ questions or comments throughout the webinar.
  • Safety: In case of a medical emergency, the facilitator(s) will use their best judgment as how to ensure your safety, such as but not limited to, calling 911 on your behalf.
  • Zoom: This is a tool that allow us to run the class virtually. There are a few guidelines the Facilitator will review with participants at the start of the webinar. Please respect these throughout the duration of the class.

 

I have read this information prior to participating in the webinar and:

  • Understand that this is a class and not a therapy or support group;
  • Agree to participate at my own risk;
  • Respect the class guidelines; and
  • Allow the facilitator(s) to use their judgment to seek reasonable medical attention on my behalf.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Wellness Matters at Wellness.Matters@guelphfht.com or call 519-837-0099.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR COMPLAINTS: If you would like a copy of our Privacy Policy, ask anyone on our team for a copy. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have about our privacy practices. You can reach one of our Privacy Officers at:

212-55 Wyndham Street North
Guelph, Ontario N1H 7T8

If, after contacting us, you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario. The Commissioner can be reached at:

Information and Privacy Commissioner/ Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
1-800-387-0073
1-416-325-9195 (fax)

 

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