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On November 1, 2004, the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) became law. PHIPA is Ontario’s health-specific privacy legislation. It governs the way personal health information may be collected, used and disclosed within the health care system. It also confirms a patient’s right to access one’s own personal health information.

The Ottawa Hospital Commitment

At The Ottawa Hospital, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and the confidentiality and security of all personal health information that we are entrusted with by our patients. Your personal health information will only be used in compliance with The Ottawa Hospital’s Privacy Policy.

How does Epic and The Ottawa Hospital protect your privacy

The Ottawa Hospital and its health-care partners now use Epic’s health information system. We collect and share your personal health information with other partners so that you get the best care possible, no matter where you get your care within our partner network. We will do so safely, using privacy and security controls to help keep your personal health information safe, meet health-care best practices and keep your care as a top priority. Visit our website to learn more about our health-care partnership and the digital health network.

What is my personal health information?

Personal health information includes any identifiable information about your health or health care history. It can include things like your medical history, details of visits to your doctor, test results or your health number.

How does Epic keep my health information secure?

We use a variety of technical and administrative privacy safeguards such as confidentiality agreements to protect your personal health information. We also track all access to your personal health information.

All staff are trained to protect patient privacy. Staff are only allowed to access only the information they need to give or support your care. This is required by law and by hospital policies.

Your personal health information resides in Ontario.

How is my personal health information shared between partners?

Under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, hospitals are allowed to use and disclose personal health information for purposes such as providing health care and planning the services patients receive.

Through Epic, we can digitally share health information with the other partner hospitals in real time. When you visit one of the hospital partners, your care provider will have up-to-date information about your health. You only have to tell your health story once, and your care provider has all of the information they need to help you make the best decisions for your care.

Can I limit who sees my personal health information in Epic?

Yes. You can limit access to your personal health information for healthcare purposes by asking for a consent directive, also known as a lockbox. There are several kinds of consent directives. You can lockbox your entire record, a specific visit, or a staff member at one of the hospital partners from seeing your record. If you want to add a consent directive, contact the Health Records Department where you normally receive care for more information.

Please note, there are some risks for you to consider when adding a Consent Directive to your record. These risks include:

  1. Your health care team may be prevented from accessing your relevant health information, which may result in a delay in your care.
  2. Your clinician may not have current or accurate information required to safely provide you with care and in some cases may be unable to offer you treatment.
  3. Staff may need to contact you at inconvenient times, to obtain express consent to access your HIS.
  4. You may receive multiple calls from different staff in the hospital who are involved in your care.

You may reduce these risks by considering a request for the Consent Directive to apply only to specific individuals or records rather than to your entire chart.

How can I access my personal health information in Epic?

Through MyChart, Epic’s patient portal, you can view your personal health information online, at any time, anywhere. In MyChart you can view test results when they are ready, see future appointments and review other health information. To learn more about MyChart, visit The Ottawa Hospital website and using the MyChart link on the homepage, or you can contact the Health Records Department. You may also get a copy of your chart by contacting the Health Records Department. To correct something in your health record, talk to your health-care provider at your next visit or contact the Health Records Department for more information.

Want more information?

If you have any questions about the privacy of your personal health information in Epic’s health information system, please contact the Information and Privacy Office: 613-739-6668 or

The Ottawa Hospital Plain Language Description of HINP Services and Safeguards.

Last updated on: October 31st, 2023