What is PIPA?
PIPA means there are rules about:
- How personal information must be collected, stored, protected, and destroyed
- Why we may collect it from you
- Who we can disclose it to
- How you can get access to your information and correct it
Under PIPA there is a difference between identifiable and non-identifiable information. Identifiable information tells who a person is—non-identifiable information does not. This is a simple but important distinction, because privacy can be violated only if the person can be identified. For that reason, PIPA is mainly concerned with information that can directly identify you.
When you provide information to your dietitian regarding your health, you have given your implicit consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information so the dietitian can provide appropriate care. You will need to provide written consent to the dietitian send or receive all or part of it to others, such as a lab, hospital, other physician as necessary to direct information only to the other Health Care Professionals who you name in THE RELEASE OF INFORMATION CONSENT FORM for the intended purpose to benefit in your care and to share your personal information by letter, phone, fax, or email.
Protection of Information
Any information so obtained will be held in strict confidence for appropriate purposes (i.e. assessing appropriate therapy or communication with you.) To obtain service you will have agreed to have the dietitian keep records of our visits and to file these in a secure and appropriate place, which may include scanning into a PDF or obtained via a web form and stored electronically for one year after services.
Release of Information
Rachel McBryan RD, with permission, corresponds with physician(s) and other health care providers or Life Labs to obtain information relevant for nutrition treatments and counselling upon a signed release of information. Ms McBryan will only contact other health care professionals who are named in the Privacy and Release of Information Consent Form for the intended purpose to benefit for care and to share personal information by letter, phone, fax, or email.
Right to Access your Personal Information
As a patient, you have the right to request access to your medical records with us, but do not necessarily have access to everything in your file. PIPA allows dietitians to hold back information if it could cause harm to the patient or to others. The office’s privacy officer will help you fill out the required form to seek access Privacy of Your Personal Health Information to your records and will explain the process. The dietitian acts as the privacy officer who will also talk to you about the fee for accessing your records.
Right to Correct Errors or Omissions
If you believe there is an error or omission in your records held in our office, you can request a correction. Our privacy officer will help you fill out the required form and explain the process. Within 30 days receiving your request, we will correct any information in your record that has been verified to be inaccurate. Our office will then send a copy of the corrected patient record to each organization that got the incorrect or incomplete information from us in the past year. If we decide that no incorrect information exists in your record, we will make a note of the change you asked for and include it in your record to indicate a correction was requested but not made. We will also notify you and provide you with the reasons for not making the requested correction.
The Complaint Process
If you have a complaint or concern about how your personal information has been collected, used, or disclosed, there is a process in place to deal with it. You have the right to make a written complaint to your dietitian’s office. Ideally, dealing directly with the dietitian our office should solve the problem, and he or she will try to resolve the matter with you. As the privacy officer s/he will investigate and respond to all complaints within a reasonable time period. If the complaint is found to be justified, appropriate steps will be taken to resolve the complaint including, if necessary, amending office policies and procedures about personal information. If the dietitian’s office has not dealt with your concern to your satisfaction, you can contact the College of Dietitian of British Columbia and speak with their privacy officer to help solve the issue. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, who has the final word on the matter. Our privacy officer will provide you with the necessary contact information and the procedure to follow should you require it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information If you have questions about how personal information is gathered, used, or disclosed by this office, please contact our privacy officer.
There are risks, limitations, conditions of use, and instructions for use of the selected electronic communication Services more fully described Appendix in the Consent form.
Consent to Use Electronic Communications
- Text messaging (including instant messaging)
- Videoconferencing (including Skype, FaceTime, Zoom)
- Better Portal/Website
- Social Media
Risks of using electronic communication:
The Registered Dietitian will use reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of information sent and received using the Services (“Services”) is defined in the attached Consent to use electronic communications). However, because of the risks outlined below, the Registered Dietitian cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of electronic communications:
- Use of electronic communications to discuss sensitive information can increase the risk of such information being disclosed to third parties.
- Despite reasonable efforts to protect the privacy and security of electronic communication, it is not possible to completely secure the information.
- Employers and online services may have a legal right to inspect and keep electronic communications that pass through their system.
- Electronic communications can introduce malware into a computer system, and potentially damage or disrupt the computer, networks, and security settings.
- Electronic communications can be forwarded, intercepted, circulated, stored,or even changed without the knowledge or permission of the Registered Dietitian or the patient.
- Even after the sender and recipient have deleted copies of electronic communications, back-up copies may exist on a computer system.
- Electronic communications may be disclosed in accordance with a duty to report or a court order.
- Videoconferencing using services such as Skype or FaceTime or Zoom may be more open to interception than other forms of videoconferencing.
If the email or text is used as an e-communication tool, the following are additional risks:
- Email, text messages, and instant messages can more easily be misdirected, resulting in increased risk of being received by unintended and unknown recipients.
- Email, text messages, and instant messages can be easier to falsify than handwritten or signed hard copies. It is not feasible to verify the true identity of the sender, or to ensure that only the recipient can read the message once it has been sent.
Conditions of using the Services
- While the Registered Dietitian will attempt to review and respond in a timely fashion to your electronic communication, the Registered Dietitian cannot guarantee that all electronic communications will be reviewed and responded to within any specific period of time. The Services will not be used for medical emergencies or other time-sensitive matters.
- If your electronic communication requires or invites a response from the Registered Dietitian and you have not received a response within a reasonable time period, it is your responsibility to follow up to determine whether the intended recipient received the electronic communication and when the recipient will respond.
- Electronic communication is not an appropriate substitute for in-person or over-the-telephone communication or clinical examinations, where appropriate, or for attending the Emergency Department when needed. You are responsible for following up on the Registered Dietitian’s electronic communication and for scheduling appointments where warranted.
- Electronic communications concerning diagnosis or treatment may be printed or transcribed in full and made part of your medical record. Other individuals authorized to access the medical record, such as staff and billing personnel, may have access to those communications.
- The Registered Dietitian may forward electronic communications to staff and those involved in the delivery and administration of your care. The Registered Dietitian might use one or more of the Services to communicate with those involved in your care. The Registered Dietitian will not forward electronic communications to third parties, including family members, without your prior written consent, except as authorized or required by law.
- You and the Registered Dietitian will not use the services to communicate sensitive medical information with out your permission about matters such as: Sexually Transmitteed disease or HIV/Aids; Mental Health; Developmental disability; Substance / Alcohol use or other matters that you are uncomfortable sharing. (Select your preferences here)
You agree to inform the Registered Dietitian of any types of information you do not want sent via the Services, in addition to those set out above. You can add to or modify the above list at any time by notifying the Registered Dietitian in writing.
- Some Services might not be used for therapeutic purposes or to communicate clinical information. Where applicable, the use of these Services will be limited to education, information, and administrative purposes.
- The Registered Dietitian is not responsible for information loss due to technical failures associated with your software or internet service provider.
Instructions for communication using the Services
To communicate using the Services, you must:
- Reasonably limit or avoid using an employer’s or other third party’s computer.
- Inform the Dietitian of any changes in the patient’s email address, mobile phone number, or other account information necessary to communicate via the Services.
If the Services include email, instant messaging and/or text messaging, the following applies:
- Include in the message’s subject line an appropriate description of the nature of the communication (e.g. “meal plan renewal”), and your full name in the body of the message.
- Review all electronic communications to ensure they are clear and that all relevant information is provided before sending to the physician.
- Ensure the dietitian is aware when you receive an electronic communication from the dietitian, such as by a reply message or allowing “read receipts” to be sent.
- Take precautions to preserve the confidentiality of electronic communications, such as using screen savers and safeguarding computer passwords.
- Withdraw consent only by email or written communication to the Dietitian.
- If you require immediate assistance, or if your condition appears serious or rapidly worsens, you should not rely on the Services. Rather, you should call your Physician’s office or take other measures as appropriate, such as going to the nearest Emergency Department or urgent care clinic.
PATIENT’S REQUEST FOR ACCESS TO PERSONAL INFORMATION
Upon request, we will give a patient (or the patient’s legally authorized representative) access to his or her personal information from the records we have in our custody or that are under our control. The dietitian acts as the privacy officer who will also explain how we collect and use personal information, and to whom it has been disclosed. Within 30 business days of receiving your completed “Request for Access to Personal Information” form (attached), we will provide you with a copy of the information, let you review the original records if we cannot reasonably provide copies to you, or give reasons for not providing access. We may extend the time for responding to your request in certain circumstances. We may also be permitted or required by law to refuse to give you access to some information in your records. If we refuse access, our privacy officer will explain the reasons for this. If you disagree with our refusal, we will try to resolve the matter with you. If we cannot resolve the matter to your satisfaction, you may ask the College of Dietitians of British Columbia to try to resolve it. If you are still not satisfied, you may refer the matter to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC. BC’s Personal Information Protection Act allows us to charge you a minimal fee for access to your personal information. If we wish to charge a fee, we will provide you with a written estimate before we provide the service. We may require you to pay a deposit for all or part of the fee before we provide the service. To request access to your personal information or information about a person you are legally authorized to represent, please complete the attached “Request for Access to Personal Information” form. If you need assistance, our privacy officer will help you complete the form. The information on this form will be used to respond to your request for your personal information or the personal information of someone whom you are legally entitled to represent. Please describe, in as much detail as possible, the information you want to access. Indicate if you also want access to records about the disclosure of your information, or information of the person you are representing. Be sure to give previous names, if any.
You may receive a photocopy of the record with a fee of $25 or you may view the original record, without receiving a copy. You will be provided with an estimate of any additional costs.