Your Personal Health Information Access and Privacy in The WRHA

Manitoba has a law called The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) that allows you to access your personal health information with limited exceptions.  PHIA also requires that we keep your information private, safe and secure.

Your personal health information is recorded information about you, your health and health care that we keep in our records, including your name, address, Personal Health Identification Number (PHIN), information about your health, health care history, the care that you have been given and payment for your health care.

Privacy Principles

PHIA is based on 10 privacy principles. The WRHA and the health care facilities within the Winnipeg Health Region (“WRHA”) policies describe how these principles must be put into practice in your work place.

1. Accountability

The WRHA is responsible for the personal health information in its custody and under its control. This means the WRHA is responsible for how it is managed on a day-to-day basis and who it is shared with outside the WRHA to ensure the personal health information remains private and secured.

2. Identifying Purposes

Individuals have the right to know why their personal health information is being collected, how it will be used and to whom it will be disclosed (shared). The purpose must be identified at, or before time of collection.

3. Consent

All consents to collect, use or disclose personal health information from an individual must clearly state the purpose, be knowledgeable, given voluntarily and not obtained through misrepresentation. Consent can be written or verbal, however all verbal consents MUST be well documented in the individual’s health record.

4. Limiting collection

Minimum Amount Need to Know Rule - Collect only the information that is necessary to accomplish the purpose.

5. Limiting use and disclosure

Personal health information must not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected (except with consent or by law).

  • Use means revealing personal health information to someone within the trustee’s organization who needs to know the information to do their job.
  • Disclosure means revealing personal health information outside of the trustee such as another facility or health care provider, family and friends or to another person who is legally entitled to have the information released to them.
  • The Minimum Amount Need to Know Rule applies when you are using or disclosing information.

6. Accuracy

Individuals have the right to request a correction of their personal health information, if they feel there is an error. This request must be made in writing. If the WRHA refuses to correct the information, the individual can provide a statement of disagreement that will be filed into their personal health information.

7. Safeguards

PHIA states that all trustees (WRHA) must have safeguards to protect personal health information against loss, theft, unauthorized access, use and disclosure. These include:

  • Administrative Safeguards such as the PHIA policies;
  • Physical Safeguards such as swipe cards, locked doors, filing cabinets; and
  • Technological Safeguards such as passwords to computer systems and screen timeouts.

8. Openess/Notice

PHIA requires that we provide individuals with notice about:

  • The purpose for which we are collecting their personal health information;
  • Their right to access their own information (examine and receive a copy) and that they can authorize another person to exercise their right of access;
  • The trustee’s practices and procedures about management of the personal health information.

9. Individual access

Individuals have the right to access their information. This means an individual can ask to view or request a copy of their personal health information. (See the Access and Privacy webpage for more information)

10. Challenging decisions of the WRHA

Individuals have the right to challenge the decisions of the WRHA regarding their access to and protection of their personal health information. If the individual is not satisfied with the response from the WRHA, they can make a formal complaint directly to the Office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.

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