Privacy

Patient Privacy

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is committed to individual privacy and to protecting your personal health information. We abide by internationally recognized information practices and legislation to ensure that your information remains confidential and secure.

Your Rights

  • See and ask for a copy of your health information;
  • Ask us to make corrections to inaccurate or incomplete health information;
  • Ask us for a list of how we use or share health information;
  • Be informed if your information is lost, stolen or shared with someone without authorization; and
  • Change your mind if you have previously given us permission to use or share your health information.

Please see SHN privacy policy: Privacy of Personal Health Information

Our practices

  • Treat and care for you, both inside and outside of the hospital;
  • Communicate or consult about your health care with your doctor(s) and other health care provider;
  • Get payment for your health care and hospital services including from OHIP and private insurance;
  • Plan, administer and manage our internal operations;
  • Compile statistics;
  • Conduct risk management and/or quality improvement activities;
  • Conduct research as approved by the Research Ethics Board;
  • Conduct patient surveys;
  • Notify a religious or other organization to visit you during your stay;
  • Notify you of an appointment or change in appointment;
  • Confirm you are a patient, your general health status, your room and telephone extension while in hospital;
  • Locate you or your family in urgent situations using an overhead paging system;
  • Fundraise to improve our health care facilities, services and programs;
  • Report as required or permitted by law;
  • Share with prescribed persons/entities who compile or maintain a registry of personal health information for purposes of facilitating or improving health care; and/or
  • Maintain complete and accurate records of health care services.

Our collection, use, and disclosure of your personal health information is done in accordance with Ontario law. For more information, please read our Privacy Brochure.

Your Health Record

Your health record includes information relevant to your health including your date of birth, contact information, health history, family health history, details of your physical and mental health, 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. 

With limited exceptions, you have the right to access the personal health information we hold about you, whether in the health record or elsewhere.  In rare situations, in accordance with applicable law, access may be denied.

You can request a copy of your health record. For more information about the health records request process please visit our Patient Records Page and our MyChart Page.

If you need a copy of your health record, please contact the Release of Information Offices:

Birchmount Hospital
Release of Information
3030 Birchmount Rd.
Scarborough, ON M1W 3W3
Phone: 416-495-2701 ext. 2532

Centenary Hospital
Release of Information
2867 Ellesmere Rd.
Scarborough, ON, M1E 4B9
Phone: 416-284-8131 ext. 4672

General Hospital
Release of Information
3050 Lawrence Ave. E.
Scarborough, ON M1P 2V5
Phone: 416-438-2911 ext. 6445

Contact the Release of Information Team by email at: correspondence@shn.ca, or access the Authorization for Disclosure of Personal Health Information form.

A copy will be provided at a reasonable fee.

SHN is committed to keeping patient records accurate and up-to-date. Please let us know if you disagree with what is recorded in your health record.. In some cases, an amendment may be made, otherwise you are permitted to write a statement of disagreement and that will be attached to your record.

Consent Directives/Lockbox

You have the right to ask that SHN not share some or all of your health record with one or more of our team members or ask us not to share your health record with one or more of your external health care providers (such as a specialist). This is known as asking for a “consent directive or lockbox.” If restrictions are requested on the use of and disclosure of your health record, a member of our team will explain the potential benefits and repercussions of a consent directive.

In certain circumstances, SHN is permitted to disclose the restricted information to a recipient custodian where in his/her professional opinion, the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of eliminating or reducing a significant risk of serious bodily harm to you.

Please reach out to the Privacy Office at privacy@shn.ca if you would like to schedule a discussion with a Privacy Office staff member.

Frequently Asked Questions

The individual right to retain control over the collection, use and disclosure of his/her personal information.

The Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) is Ontario’s health-specific privacy legislation. PHIPA governs the manner in which personal health information is collected, used and disclosed within the health care system. It will also regulate individuals and organizations that receive personal health information from health care professionals.

Personal health information is “identifying information” collected about an individual.

It is information about an individual’s health or health care history in relation to:

  • The providing of health care to the individual, including the identification of a person as a provider of health care to the individual;
  • A plan of service within the meaning of the Long-Term Care Act, 1994 for the individual;
  • To payments or eligibility for health care in respect of the individual;
  • To the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance of the individual or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance;
  • Individual’s health number, or
  • An individual’s substitute decision-maker

What is NOT personal health information?

  • Any data that has been collected in which all personal identifiers have been removed (making determination of identity impossible) is not considered personal information, nor is the name, title, business address or business telephone number of an employee of an organization.

Breach of privacy, confidentiality or security refers to the unauthorized access, collection, use, or disclosure of any personal information or personal health information.

An individual seeking to correct their personal health information is required to submit a written request to the health information custodian. The custodian must respond within 30 days of receiving a correction request. Please reach out to our Health Information Management department and your health care provider to learn more about the process.

PHIPA provides limited grounds for extending this 30-day time frame. For example, extensions are permitted where replying within 30 days would unreasonably interfere with the custodian’s activities, or where the time necessary to undertake the consultations associated with the request would exceed 30 days.

The hospital is obligated to correct personal health information where an individual demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the hospital, that the record is in fact inaccurate or incomplete and the individual gives the custodian the necessary information to correct the record.

However, the hospital may refuse to correct personal health information that is a professional opinion or an observation of the health care provider.

  • Administrative Safeguards: Scarborough Health Network’s privacy policy governs the way in which all hospital employees and physicians manage and access patient information. In addition, all hospital employees and physicians must complete mandatory Privacy training and sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment or privileging.
  • Physical Safeguards: Scarborough Health Network has a number of physical safeguards and measures to protect SHN’s patient records including facility access controls, workstation security and mobile device security requirements.
  • Technical Safeguards: Scarborough Health Network’s Information Technology department upgrades the security capabilities of the patient information system on an ongoing basis. We have implemented role-based access controls to ensure staff only may access electronic information on a need-to-know basis. Scarborough Health Network’s patient information system also uses passwords to protect the system from inappropriate accesses from within and a firewall to protect our system from users on the Internet.

Many health care organizations undertake fundraising campaigns to improve their services, such as buying new medical equipment. This work is done by the Foundation Department. To support these efforts, the law allows SHN to share limited information about you for fundraising. For example, SHN may share your name and address so that the SHN Foundation Department can contact you or someone who is acting on your behalf. However, we will not share any health information for this purpose without your explicit consent.

You can tell us at any time if you do not want our Foundation Department to contact you. To do so, contact our SHN Foundation Department by email at foundation@shn.ca or by phone at (416) 431-8130.

Yes. You can communicate with the hospital through electronic means like emails or text messages, but only if we have your consent to do so.

Remember emails and text messages are not protected in the same way that phone calls and letter mail are protected. You should be aware of the risks and terms associated with using emails or text messages for care. Our health care team is happy to provide you with a consent form before you proceed, which outlines the risks associated with unsecured transfers. Please reach out to the Privacy Office at privacy@shn.ca if you would like to schedule a discussion with a Privacy Office staff member.

As an alternative, SHN offers MyChart to communicate with your care team. For more information, please visit our MyChart page here.

You can change your mind at any time and withdraw your consent to communicate via emails and text messages by contacting your physician, care team or the Privacy Office.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) is a provincial law that applies to most public institutions, including all hospitals and long-term care homes. The two main purposes of FIPPA are to provide the public a right of access to information about how an organization is run and to protect the privacy of personal information and other confidential information that SHN holds.

Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have about our privacy practices.

SHN Privacy Office

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

  • Phone: 416-326-3333 or toll-free at 1-800-387-0073
  • Website: www.ipc.on.ca

If, after contacting SHN, you feel that your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), R.S.O. 1990 is a provincial legislation that:

  1. Provides the public a right of access to hospital information subject to limited exemptions; and
  2. Protects the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by hospitals and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.

FIPPA applies to all records that came into the custody or control of the hospital on or after January 1, 2007. You may request to access information about your community hospital, and certain records must be made available, in accordance with the Act.

All requests must be made in writing by completing an Access/Corrections Request Form. Requests for Personal Health Records should be processed through the Health Records Department Form.

If you are making a request for general information, there will be an initial fee of $5. If the total cost of processing your request exceeds $100, you will be provided with a fee estimate before processing begins and you will be required to pay a deposit of 50% of the total processing costs before the hospital begins to process your request.

There are two ways to submit the request form:

  • Submit by email – You can fill out and save the form electronically. Then submit the form by attaching it in an email and sending it to fippa@SHN.ca.
  • Submit by postal mail – If you would prefer to print the form and fill it out by hand, please mail it to: Attention Privacy Contact Person, Scarborough Health Network, Birchmount Hospital, 3030 Birchmount Rd., Scarborough, ON M1W 3W3.

If you require further assistance with filing an Freedom of Information request, please contact us at fippa@SHN.ca.

Under the Act, you may appeal any hospital decision regarding access or correction to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner within 30 days from the date of receipt of the letter denying your request. Make your appeal by writing to:

Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
2 Bloor St. E.
Suite 1400
Toronto, ON, M4W 1A8

Provide the Commissioner’s office with:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • The Access Request Number (case file #) assigned to your request by SHN.
  • A copy of the original request for information that was sent to SHN.
  • The reasons for your appeal.

The appeal must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Fees vary according to the nature of the request being appealed as follows:

  • $25, if the person appealing has made a request for access to a general record under subsection 24 (1) of the Act.
  • $10, if the person appealing has made a request for access to personal information under subsection 48 (1) of the Act.

If you have any questions about the access or appeal process, please do not hesitate to contact SHN’s FOI and Privacy Office.