Improvements to protect patients’ privacy
Personal Health Information Act needs fine tuning, not overhaul: report
Health Minister John Haggie says the first statutory review of the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) has concluded.
The review, Haggie stated in a news release, found there were no major flaws with the legislation and it “simply needs some fine tuning, and the recommendations represent minor corrections.”
The review was conducted by the statutory review committee, whose members include chairman David Morgan, Daryl Pullman, Jeannie House and Marian Crowley. The committee’s report is available online at www.phiareviewnl.ca. “The purpose of this review was to find ways to improve and strengthen the act. I feel that through these recommendations we will be able to do just that,” Haggie stated. “This important piece of legislation is focused on ensuring the appropriate safeguards are in place to protect people’s privacy and confidentially, while also allowing for the secure flow of information.”
The PHIA establishes rules that must be followed when collecting, using and disclosing individuals’ confidential personal health information. The first statutory review of the legislation began in December 2016. The review committee managed a three-round written submission process, which garnered more than 20 submissions along with approximately 80 respondents from the public via a web-based survey.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Donovan Molloy said the committee conducted a thorough and transparent review.
“The end result is a comprehensive report with recommendations that offers the province an opportunity to further strengthen the protection and privacy of personal health information,” Molloy said.
“The OIPC looks forward to providing input to the department on prioritization of the committee’s recommendations and collaborating with key stakeholders on new safeguards or other measures as a result of amendments to the PHIA.”
The next steps for the department will involve consideration of all recommendations to ensure that amendments to the existing act strengthen measures around individual privacy and confidentiality.
Amendments are anticipated to be brought to the House of Assembly in the fall of 2018.
Health Minister John Haggie