The following questions and answers outline how the Pathways Patient Referral Association (the “Association”) and the Pathways Medical Care Directory (the “Directory”) comply with British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) legislation.
What is the Medical Care Directory used for?
The primary use of the 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. It is also used to facilitate the collection of a patient’s personal health information by participating family physicians and healthcare professionals.
What information is collected?
Physicians and Other Healthcare Professionals
The Association collects primarily business information (i.e., clinic address, clinic phone, hours of operation, etc.) directly from family physicians and other healthcare professionals wishing to be listed in the Directory. Any personal information collected, used and shared is done so only with prior consent and solely for the purpose for which it was collected.
When logged into the Directory, a third-party plug-in records traffic data (including the IP address) of users for the purposes of maintaining security and improving the Directory service. This information is not shared, and is retained until a listing is permanently deleted from the Directory.
The Association does not collect any patient information submitted on forms requested to be completed by physicians or healthcare professionals. The submitted forms are emailed directly to, and collected by, the requesting physician or healthcare professional.
The Association collects personal information of visitors of the Directory website who submit an inquiry. Such collections are based on implied consent and the personal information collected is used and shared only for the purpose of responding to the inquiry.
A cookie is a small file containing certain pieces of information that a website creates when you visit the site. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Our website uses session cookies, which are stored in the temporary memory of your computer and are not retained after you sign out or close the browser session. Persistent cookies are also used for Google Analytics and are retained for 2 years. These cookies collect information of how and when you use a site, which site you visited immediately before, and it can store that information about your device. IP addresses are truncated and no personal information is stored in the persistent cookies.
The Association may, at its discretion, anonymize any personal information collected (in which case it will cease to be personal information) and make use of such anonymized data for research and analysis purposes.
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 to ensure it remains current and accurate.
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. 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.
All 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 none of the information you provide to your physician or healthcare professional through the Medical Care Directory is stored by the Association.
If you submit an inquiry to the Association, your personal information will be retained for a period of 30 days after actioning your inquiry, then permanently deleted.
Where is this information stored?
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 on 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 [email protected].