The following questions and answers outline how the Pathways Patient Referral Association (the “Association”) and the Pathways Medical Care Directory comply with British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) legislation. Privacy Officer contact information is also provided, should you have further questions.
What is the Medical Care Directory used for?
The primary use of the Medical Care Directory is to provide a public directory of family physicians and other healthcare professionals, and information relating to their clinics or other facilities, to facilitate access to health services in cases where patients do not have a family physician, and to provide other notices or information regarding certain health care services or resources.
What privacy legislation, if any, is applicable?
As a not-for-profit society, the Association is governed by the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The Medical Care Directory facilitates the provision of limited personal and contact information between patients and physicians or other healthcare professionals.
What information is collected?
The data that is collected is the information that you provide to us for incorporation in the Medical Care Directory or to facilitate electronic communications to a physician. This may include a combination of public and personal information such as:
From physicians or other healthcare professionals:
- Office contact information
- Hours of operation
- Procedures done at the practice/ clinic
- Referral information
- Languages spoken in the office
- Patient instructions
- Cancellation policies
- Clinic/hospital associations
- Details and history of motor vehicle accidents or workplace injuries, including WCB claim number
How do you ensure that information about a healthcare professional or clinic has been collected with consent?
When collecting this information from a physician or other healthcare professional, the Association will identify itself as a representative of the Association and clarify that the information is being collected for the purposes of listing on the Medical Care Directory. You have the option of choosing to participate or not. A physician or other healthcare professional may also submit information to the Association relating to their practice or clinic.
How is information about a healthcare professional or clinic collected?
This information is collected and/or verified with the healthcare professional or clinic directly, via a survey. If required, data collection may also involve an email or phone call in order to ensure correct, complete practice/ clinic data has been collected
What steps are taken to maintain the accuracy of the information about my practice or clinic?
Maintaining the accuracy of the practice or clinic information is a priority for the Association and to that end a number of strategies are used. These include:
- Upon initial data entry, encouraging each clinic to review their information and make any needed corrections.
- Thereafter encouraging healthcare professionals and clinics to regularly review their information.
How long will my information be retained?
Physicians and other healthcare professionals:
If you are a physician or other healthcare professional or clinic, your information will be retained until you indicate that you no longer wish to have your practice or clinic information listed on Medical Care Directory, or until we are made aware that your practice has closed. Upon your request, it will no longer be made available to users and archived for one year. Healthcare professionals who retire or leave their practice, or practices/ clinics who close will retain listings on Medical Care Directory for 2 years with very limited information identifying their current status. Thereafter, their information is removed from the live site and moved to the archival database.
All archived data is automatically backed up for 1 year so that, if desired, a medical provider/ clinic can review the data that was previously displayed in Pathways. After 1 year the medical provider/ clinic’s data is permanently removed from all backups.
If you are a patient or other member of the public, none of the information you provide through the Medical Care Directory is stored by the Association.
Note that the Association may at its discretion anonymize any personal information in its custody (in which case it will cease to be personal information) and make use of such anonymized data or anonymized aggregated data from the Medical Care Directory for research and analysis purposes (including by providing such information to third party service providers and sharing the research and analysis results with any third party).
Where is this information stored?
The Medical Care Directory information is currently stored on WP Engine servers, which are located in Canada.
What steps are taken to ensure that personal information provided is properly safeguarded?
The Association maintains industry standard privacy and security protocols. These include compliance with industry standard database security protocols, and ongoing reviews of our privacy and security policies. The Association places a strong emphasis of maintaining the trust of the public and the medical community by demonstrating compliance with sound privacy and security practices.
If I have a question or complaint related to privacy or would like to confirm the accuracy and completeness of my information, who can I speak to?
You can contact the Pathways Privacy Officer, Ryan Lammertsen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.