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At The Ottawa Hospital, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and the confidentiality and security of all personal health information.

What is a privacy breach?

A privacy breach is when personal health Information has been lost or stolen; or accessed, disclosed, or disposed of inappropriately.

How does The Ottawa Hospital prevent privacy breaches?

The Ottawa Hospital has taken a variety of steps to prevent privacy breaches. They include:

  • Creating and enforcing policies that clearly limit access to personal health information.
  • Providing education sessions for all employees, physicians, and physician residents.
  • Ensuring new employees, physicians and physician residents sign a confidentiality agreement that outlines their obligations.
  • Displaying an automatic notice reminding employees, physicians, and physician residents of their obligations when they log in and access personal health information.
  • Performing random audits of the hospital’s database for electronic health records to ensure employees, physicians and physician residents are only accessing patient information that is necessary to do their jobs.
  • Providing employees and physicians with locked offices, filing cabinets and secure methods to dispose of documents.
  • Restricting access to personal health information to only those employees, physicians and physician residents who need to know.
  • Ensuring all relevant computers and memory sticks are encrypted and password-protected to protect confidential information.

What happens when a privacy breach occurs?

As soon as the hospital learns of a privacy breach, the Information and Privacy Office takes the following steps:

  • Identifies the extent of the breach and takes steps to contain it.
  • Investigates the cause of the breach and works to eliminate the risk of it happening again.
  • Notifies the patient(s) whose privacy was breached.

Hospital staff who do not follow the hospital’s privacy policy could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Physicians and physician residents who breach their duty to protect the confidentiality of patients and safeguard patients’ personal health information could have their privileges at The Ottawa Hospital suspended or taken away. In addition, privacy breaches involving regulated health professionals are reported to their respective colleges.

Last updated on: October 31st, 2023