Protecting your health information is just as important as safeguarding your financial information.
Personal Health Information includes information about your health status, health history, health card number, eligibility for health-care services, and any identifying information about you.
Health information is appealing to thieves for a number of reasons, explains Theresa Sippert, Privacy Officer for the Champlain CCAC. For one, it's actually more valuable than financial information because it is worth more on the underground market. Once thieves have your personal health information, they can do almost anything with it. Personal information such as names, social insurance numbers, and dates of birth can be used to open up new credit accounts, file false tax returns, and more.
Ms. Sippert says it's important to be proactive and refers to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario's five W's for protecting your personal health information:
- Who wants it and who will have access to it?
- Why do they want it?
- What will it be used for?
- Where will your information be stored?
- When will your information be used and when will it be discarded?
Ms. Sippert adds that it is your right as a patient to take steps to understand how your information is kept confidential. In addition, she advises patients to keep personal documents in a secure place, minimize personal information when using social media, and shred all personal records instead of tossing them in the trash.
To learn more:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario www.ipc.on.ca
For more about Champlain CCAC Patient Privacy: www.healthcareathome.ca