HIPA, Strengthening The Foundation of The Privacy Law

Most of us would have heard about PHIPA, the Personal Health Information Protection Act and QCIPA, the Quality of Care Information Protection Act. The foundation laws that are aimed to protect your Personal Health Information from those hackers and crooks who would love to get their hands on your personal information. Even with the establishment of these laws we have seen many breaches, some of which really shot to the limelight in the past recent years.

However, the word in town is that a new Bill had recently passed the third reading. The Bill 119 or the Health Information Protection Act is all set to make amendments to the PHIPA AND QCIPA. Amendments range from the mandatory reporting of privacy breaches to doubling the existing fines for offenders.  According to Dr. Eric Hoskins, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care “This legislation gives our health care system the necessary tools to protect the private health information of patients in Ontario…” and hopefully it does.

The advancement in health information technology has ushered a new era in providing quality care for people but at a very expensive price, privacy of one’s personal information. Systems should be designed, developed and deployed keeping in mind that security of the personal health information is kept a key criteria. Workflows should be redesigned in healthcare institutions and other organizations to include a culture of reporting privacy breaches and to study such situations to avoid the breaches in the future. Laws and regulations can play only so much to enforce protection, it is the duty of the people involved to follow and practice the law.

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By Sunil Mammen

An eHealth professional specializing in health informatics research and management, health policy and documentation. [LinkedIn]

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