Confidentiality of Personal Health Information – Preliminary Consultation

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    Deadline: March 5, 2013

    Preliminary Consultation

    In accordance with the College’s policy review cycle, the Confidentiality of Personal Health Information policy is currently under review. The Confidentiality of Personal Health Information policy sets expectations for physicians with respect to maintaining the confidentiality of their patients’ personal health information and outlines several circumstances where disclosure of confidential personal health information without the patient’s consent may be permissible or required by law.

    The College is inviting feedback from the profession, the public and other stakeholders on the current policy.


    Maintaining confidentiality is an important element in establishing effective physician-patient relationships. Receiving and disclosing sensitive patient information is essential to the physician’s ability to provide quality care to the patient. Patients give information to physicians in a unique context where they have the utmost faith that the physician will maintain patient privacy and confidentiality.

    The purpose of the policy review is to evaluate the current policy and determine what revisions may be required to ensure that the policy is clear, informative, and reflective of confidentiality issues often encountered in medical practice.

    Have Your Say

    The College welcomes feedback from members of the profession, the public, and any other stakeholders who wish to comment or propose revisions to the current policy.

    Specifically, the College requests your input on the following:

        • Does the policy clearly articulate the physician’s professional obligations with respect to maintaining patient confidentiality; as well as circumstances in which confidential personal health information may be disclosed without the patient’s consent?
        • Are there any issues not included in the current policy that should be addressed? If so what are they?
        • Are there other ways in which the policy could be improved?

    The deadline to provide feedback on the current policy is March 5, 2013.

    Next Steps

    Feedback provided on the current policy during this preliminary consultation will assist the College in determining what policy revisions may be required. Decisions about policy revisions will be made with a view of creating a policy that is informative, and reflective of the College’s mandate to protect the public. A second external consultation will be held on the revised draft policy before it is finalized by Council.

    To ensure transparency and encourage an open dialogue, feedback received is posted on our website in accordance with the posting guidelines.

    The College thanks all interested parties in advance for their contribution to this preliminary consultation on its Confidentiality of Personal Health Information policy.


    Email us your comments at confidentiality@


    Post your comments to the public forum here

    Provide your feedback by mail:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
    80 College Street
    Toronto, ON M5G2E2
    Attention: Policy Department – Confidentiality