Hospitals, Clinics, and Health Authorities PDF Print E-mail

When you are cared for in a hospital or clinic, a patient record is created about you, to be used to give you care and treatment, and for billing purposes. These are often called the “primary” purposes.

These days, this information is frequently stored in computerized databases. Information from these databases can be used by the clinic, hospital, health authority and the Ministry of Health for a wide range of “secondary” purposes.

Sometimes before this happens the names or Personal Health Numbers attached to the information will be removed so the information is anonymous. Sometimes the information will be used or disclosed with names or personal health numbers or other information that identifies the person.


Limiting Use or Disclosure

Some of the systems at some of the health authorities have the technical ability to limit the use or disclosure of your personal health information from health authority databases for these types of secondary health-system purposes.

These secondary purposes can include

  • Evaluating a program for quality, cost-effectiveness or usefulness
  • Doing larger system-planning analysis
  • Public health
  • Teaching and education of staff and medical students
  • Research

Some systems can also put a “privacy flag” on their record to indicate that special instructions or limits apply to the person’s medical record during their stay in hospital. This can be useful if you DON’T want a particular person at the hospital to be able to see your medical record.

For more information about what your hospital can do to limit who can see and use your personal health information contact the Privacy Office of the Health Authority.

For more information see the information sheet published by the BC Privacy Commissioner Limiting Access to your Health Records