Frequently Asked Questions about Privacy
1. What does PMH use my health information for?
PMH uses your information to provide care to you, for evaluation and planning of PMH services and programs, research, teaching, statistics, and to meet legal and regulatory requirements. PMH only uses your information where it is authorized by law and use is limited to the minimum amount necessary.
2. Does PMH share my information with anyone outside the region?
PMH is required to provide information to various departments of Manitoba Health, the Vital Statistics department, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Only the minimum amount of information required is shared and in some cases identifying information is removed. When we send this information, safeguards are in place to protect the confidentiality and security of the information.
3. Will PMH share my health information to any outside company or my employer?
PMH requires your consent or a court order prior to releasing information to any organization or person not directly involved in your treatment/care or payment for health care. PMH will ensure that only the information you have authorized is released.
4. Can I access my health information?
You have the right to access your personal health information and PMH has an obligation to make it available to you, with limited exceptions. An exception may include protecting the identity of a third person. PMH may choose not to give you access to part of or all of your information and will provide you with a reason if access is refused. Please go to Access to Your Records (hyperlink to page 3) for information on how to make a request.
5. Can my family see my health information?
Your right to access your health information does not automatically extend to your family members and/or friends. If you consent to let a friend or a family member see your health record, then the friend/family member may access the part(s) that you have consented to let them view.
6. What if I am unable to give consent?
If you are unable to give consent for a friend or family member to access your health information due to reasons of competency or consciousness, the consent decision will be appointed to an Alternate Decision Maker who can act on your behalf. This person may be a proxy named in a Health Care Directive or a spouse or parent. The person who will act on your behalf must make decisions based on their belief of what you would wish done if you
were able to decide.
7. Can PMH employees access my health record?
Access to your health information is only allowed where the employee requires the information to provide treatment or care to you or as a requirement as part of their job. For example, some information is taken from your health record, for statistical purposes, and sent to Manitoba Health. All PMH employees are bound by a strict confidentiality agreement, which is signed as a condition of employment. This agreement requires that employees only
access information on a need-to-know basis.
8. Can my family physician access my PMH health information?
PMH does release information to your family physician so that they may continue to provide health care to you.
9. When I called the hospital to see how my family member is doing, the PMH employee could not describe what the problem with my family member was or their condition. Why is that?
When you call, employees may have no way to verify that you are who you say you are. Therefore, in order to protect the privacy of the patient or resident, only a minimal amount of information is given out over the phone. PMH employees will not release any information if your family or friend has requested that no information be released.
10. Many areas of the hospital are open and I can sometimes overhear employees talking to patients or family about health information? Is that a breach of patient privacy?
There are situations where the location or circumstances make it difficult for employees to have a private conversation. All employees make every effort to discuss health information privately. Should you overhear information about one of our patients, please respect their privacy and do not repeat this information.
11. How long is my PMH health record stored?
PMH records are retained for various time periods that are determined by the type of program, PMH Policy, and applicable law.