Im­prove­ments to pro­tect pa­tients’ pri­vacy

Per­sonal Health In­for­ma­tion Act needs fine tun­ing, not over­haul: re­port

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL -

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.

FILE PHOTO

Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie

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