Privacy of personal information is an important principle to Massage Care Clinic.
We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and services we provide. We try to be open and transparent about how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.
What is Personal Health Information?
Personal health information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal health information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g., health history, health conditions, and health services received by them) or their activities and views. Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.
Who We Are
Massage Care Clinic includes at the time of writing multiple registered massage therapists and support administration. We use a number of consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal health information we hold. These include computer consultants, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, lawyers, temporary workers to cover holidays, credit card companies, website managers and cleaners. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as is reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
Why We Collect Personal Health Information
We collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. For our clients, the primary purpose for collecting personal health information is to provide massage therapy treatment. For example, we collect information about a client’s health history, including their family history, physical condition and function and social situation in order to help us assess what their health needs are, to advise them of their options and then to provide the health care they choose to have. A second primary purpose is to obtain a baseline of health and social information so that in providing ongoing health services we can identify changes that are occurring over time.
On our website we only collect, with the exception of cookies, the personal information you provide and only use that information for the purpose you gave it to us, for example, to respond to an email. Massage Care Clinic does not use any personal information from clients or general public cookies during visits to our website.
We also collect, use and disclose personal health information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
- To obtain payment for services or goods provided not paid for at the time of service, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
- We may remind clients of scheduled appointments or advise clients of special events
- Communication with clients may include cards, letters, newsletters, telephone reminders or email reminders. A voice message may be left on an answering machine or with a person answering the phone. Your name may be called in the reception area.
- The cost of some goods/services provided at Massage Care Clinic is paid by third parties. These third party payers may have consent or authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate client entitlement to this funding.
- We review client files to ensure that we provide ongoing high quality services, including assessing the performance of our clinic or for educational purposes. Without identifying client’s personal names we may review clinical data for peer conference educational purposes. External consultants (e.g. auditors, lawyers, practice consultants, voluntary accreditation programs) may conduct audits and quality improvement reviews on our behalf.
- To promote our clinic, new services, special events and opportunities (e.g. a seminar or conference) that we have available. We will always obtain express consent from the client prior to collecting or handling personal health information for this purpose. You will always have a choice to unsubscribe to clinic communications.
- To comply with external regulators. Our professionals are regulated by the CMTO who may inspect our records and interview our staff as a part of its regulatory activities in the public interest. The CMTO has its own strict confidentiality and privacy obligations. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. Also, our organization believes that it should report information suggesting illegal behaviour to the authorities. In addition, we may be required by law to disclose personal health information to various government agencies (e.g. Ministry of Health, children’s aid societies, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, etc.).
- To facilitate the sale of business. If the assets were to be sold, the potential purchaser would want to conduct a “due diligence” review of the company records to ensure that it is a viable business that has been honestly portrayed. The potential purchaser must first enter into an agreement with the business to keep the information confidential and secure and not to retain any of the information longer than necessary to conduct the due diligence. Once a sale has been finalized, the business may transfer records to the purchaser, but it will make reasonable efforts to provide notice to the individual before doing so.
Protecting Personal Information
- We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, strong passwords are used on all computers and mobile devices.
- Personal health information is only stored on mobile devices if necessary. All personal health information stored on mobile devices is protected by strong encryption.
- Paper information is transferred through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies with strong privacy policies.
- Electronic information is either anonymized or encrypted before being transmitted.
- We do not post any personal information about our clients on social media sites and all clinicians and administrators are trained on the appropriate use of social media sites.
- External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
We need to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions you might have about the services provided and for our own accountability to external regulatory bodies. However, in order to protect your privacy, we do not want to keep personal information for too long. We keep our client files for at least ten years from the date of the last client interaction or from the date the client turns 18. We destroy paper files containing personal health information by cross-cut shredding. We destroy electronic information by deleting it in a manner that it cannot be restored. When hardware is discarded, we ensure that the hardware is physically destroyed or the data is erased or overwritten in a manner that the information cannot be recovered.
You Can Look at Your Records
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you, by contacting Heidi Wiens, RMT. We can help you identify what records we might have about you. We will also try to help you understand any information you do not understand (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). We will need to confirm your identity, if we do not know you, before providing you with this access. We reserve the right to charge a reasonable fee for this service.
We may ask you to put your request in writing. We will respond to your request as soon as possible and generally within 30 days, if at all possible. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you the reason, as best we can, as to why.
If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions we may have formed. We may ask you to provide documentation that our files are wrong. Where we agree that we made a mistake we will make the correction. At your request and where it is reasonably possible, we will notify anyone to whom we sent this information (but we may deny your request if it would not reasonably have an effect on the ongoing provision of health care). If we do not agree that we have made a mistake, we will still agree to include in our file a brief statement from you on the point.
If there is a Privacy Breach
While we will take precautions to avoid any breach of your privacy, if there is a loss, theft or unauthorized access of your personal health information we will notify you. Upon learning of a possible or known breach, we will take the following steps:
- We will contain the breach to the best of our ability, including by taking the following steps:
- Retrieving hard copies of personal health information that have been disclosed
- Ensuring no copies have been made
- Taking steps to prevent unauthorized access to electronic information (e.g., change passwords, restrict access, temporary shutdown system)
- We will notify affected individuals
- We will provide our contact information in case the individual has further questions
- We will provide the Commissioner’s contact information
- We will investigate and re-mediate the problem, by:
- Conducting an internal investigation
- Determining what steps should be taken to prevent future breaches (e.g. changes to policies, additional safeguards)
- Ensuring all Massage Care Clinicians and administrators are appropriately trained and conduct further training if required
Depending on the circumstances of the breach, we may notify and work with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. In addition, we may report the breach to the relevant regulatory College, The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, if we believe that it was the result of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. If you have a concern about the professionalism or competence of our services or the mental or physical capacity of any of our professional staff we would ask you to discuss those concerns with us. However, if we cannot satisfy your concerns, you are entitled to complain to our regulatory body:
COLLEGE OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS OF ONTARIO
1867 Yonge Street, Suite 810, Toronto, ON M4S 1Y5br
(416) 489-2626, (800) 465-1933, facsimile (416) 489-2625,
Do You Have Questions or Concerns?
Our Information Officer, Heidi Wiens, RMT can be reached at:
#121-1135 Adelaide St. N
She will attempt to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy practices, you may make it in writing to our Information Officer. She will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, and ensure that it is investigated promptly and that you are provided with a formal decision and reasons in writing.
You also have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you have concerns about our privacy practices or how your personal health information has been handled, by contacting:
Privacy and Information Commissioner
112 Kent Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 1H3
This policy is made under the Personal Health Information Protection Act and Electronics Document Act.
It is a complex statute and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here.