Inside Out Nutrition
Privacy of personal information is required of Inside Out Nutrition. The Registered Dietitian of Inside Out Nutrition will collect, use and disclose personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services provided.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), the health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). 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
Inside Out Nutrition consists of Registered Dietitian: Kristen Yakimishen. Inside Out Nutrition utilizes the online charting system (Practice Better) to store your information.
Any future staff (e.g. partner dietitians, future administrative staff), service providers (e.g. accountants, insurance providers), interns or students of Inside Out Nutrition, who access client information would also be bound by confidentiality and only access the minimal information needed to complete their task.
Access to any of your personal information will be restricted as much as reasonably possible. We also have the assurance of other professionals (accountants, etc) that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: PRIMARY PURPOSES
Like all Registered Dietitians, Kristen Yakimishen collects, uses and discloses personal information in order to serve clients. For my clients, the primary purpose for collecting personal information about you is to provide you with medical nutrition therapy. I collect information about your health and diet history, your physical condition and function, and your social situation in order to help assess what your needs are, to advise you of your options and then to provide the health care you 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. It would be rare to collect such information without the client’s express consent, but this might occur in an emergency (e.g., the client is unconscious) or where we believe the client would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a family member passing a message on from our client and we have no reason to believe that the message is not genuine).
About Contract Staff, Volunteers and Students
For people who are contracted to do work for us (e.g., temporary workers), our primary purpose for collecting personal information is to ensure we can contact them in the future (e.g., for new assignments) and for necessary work-related communication (e.g., sending out paycheques, year-end tax receipts). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addresses and telephone numbers. It is rare for us to collect such information without prior consent, but it might happen in the case of a health emergency (e.g., a SARS outbreak) or to investigate a possible breach of low (e.g., if a theft were to occur in the clinic). If contract staff, volunteers or students wish a letter of reference or an evaluation, we will collect information about their work related performance and provide a report as authorized by them.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: RELATED AND SECONDARY PURPOSES
Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to our primary and secondary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
To invoice clients for services that were not paid for at the time, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
Registered Dietitians are regulated by the College of Dietitians of Manitoba who may inspect our records and interview our staff as part of their regulatory activities in the public interest. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own.
Dietitians have a duty to report if harm or abuse of children or the vulnerable is indicated or suspected.
Also, our organization believes that it should report information suggesting serious illegal behaviour to the authorities. External regulators have their own strict privacy obligations. Sometimes these reports include personal information about our clients, or other individuals, to support a concern (e.g., improper services). Also, like all organizations, various government agencies (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review our files and interview our staff as a part of their mandates. In these circumstances, we may consult with professionals (e.g., lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back to us.
The cost of some services provided by Inside Out Nutrition to clients is paid for by third parties (e.g. private insurance). These third-party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate client entitlement to this funding.
Clients or other individuals we deal with may have questions about our services after they have been received. We also provide ongoing services for many of our clients over a period of months or years for which our previous records are helpful. We retain our client information for a minimum of ten years after the last contact to enable us to respond to these questions and provide these services (our regulatory College also requires us to retain our client records).
If Inside Out Nutrition or its assets were to be sold, the purchase would want to conduct a “due diligence” review of the records to ensure that it is a viable business that has been honestly portrayed to the purchaser. This due diligence may involve some review of our accounting and service files. The purchase would not be able to remove or record personal information. Before being provided access to the files, the purchaser must provide a written promise to keep all personal information confidential. Only reputable purchasers who have already agreed to buy the organization’s business or its assets would be provided access to personal information, and only for the purpose of completing their due diligence search prior to closing the purchase.
You can choose not to be part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by paying for your services in advance). We do not, however, have much choice about some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g. external regulation).
PROTECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
Your information is stored electronically using virtual management software and is password protected.
Paper information is not kept, unless being transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes in the mail.
Electronic information is transmitted through fax.
Email communication would have to have safeguards in place (e.g. password protected documents, or other safeguards) or have minimal information shared (e.g. just appointment times, notifications of emails sent within Practice Better, etc). Emails sent within the virtual charting platform, Practice Better, used by Inside Out Nutrition would meet those safeguards.
External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.
Client consent is needed before Inside Out Nutrition can retrieve or send information to any of your other health care providers, via letter, phone, fax, or email (per PIPEDA). Consent to sharing information can be retracted at any time.
The Regulating Body for Dietitians in Manitoba (The College of Dietitians of Manitoba) requires a custodian of client records: another regulated health professional, bound by confidentiality, to have the passwords needed to access client information should Kristen Yakimishen be unable to provide access to her client’s information.
Kristen Yakimishen is the privacy officer for Inside Out Nutrition.
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, we do not want to keep personal information too long in order to protect your privacy. We keep our client files for a minimum ten years. We destroy electronic information by deleting it.
YOU CAN LOOK AT YOUR INFORMATION
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you. Often all you have to do is ask. 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 nominal fee for such requests.
If there is a problem we may ask you to put your request in writing. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and tell you the reason, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
Patients have the right to see their file. Patient must discuss with their health care provider their intentions for seeing their file, and also make a formal request in writing.
● It will take up to 30 days to review and prepare clients files, and may be subject to supervision by management. To cover costs of time and supplies, a minimal charge of up to $30 may be made.
● Inside Out Nutrition will not provide access to your file or segments of your file if to do so would be detrimental to your well-being. This will be done as a discussion with the patient, explaining why we think this is so, and a conclusion will be made.
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 and notify anyone to whom we sent this information. 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 and we will forward that statement to anyone else who received the earlier information. If the requested correction is not made, the client has the right to file a statement of disagreement and a right to make a complaint about the refusal to the Manitoba Ombudsman. This statement of disagreement should include what you disagree with and what you believe to be accurate. The trustee is required to add this statement of disagreement to your personal health record.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION?
Kristen Yakimishen of Inside Out Nutrition can be reached at:
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 Kristen Yakimishen, RD. She will acknowledge receipt of your complaint; ensure that it is investigated promptly and that you are provided with a formal decision and reasons in writing.
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 Dietitians of Manitoba
36-1313 Border Street
Winnipeg MB R3H 0X4
Tel: (204) 694-0532
Fax: (204) 889-1755
This policy is made under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. That is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set out above.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at:
112 Kent Street, Ottawa ON, K1A 1H3