Safeguarding personal health information
Privacy, and the protection of personal health information, is an essential element of client care and the therapeutic nurse-client relationship. Privacy breaches often lead to emotional distress for clients, and clients need to feel confident and comfortable that the information they share with their health care team will be kept confidential.
To strengthen the protection of personal health information, the Ontario government has amended regulations under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
As of Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, Health Information Custodians (custodians) – who are usually employers – will be required to notify the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario when personal health information is lost or stolen, or used or disclosed without authority. The exact circumstances when a custodian must notify the Commissioner are detailed in section 6.3 of the regulation under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
Also, starting Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, custodians will be required to track privacy breach statistics and provide the Commissioner with an annual report of these statistics by March 2019. We expect the Commissioner to release detailed guidance on this reporting requirement soon.
Reporting to the Commissioner
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has guidelines to help custodians who must make a report.
If you have any questions about the reporting process, contact the office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario directly.
Getting Clear About “Revoked”
As of July 21, 2017, the College will no longer use the term “revoked” for all scenarios in which a member’s registration has been terminated. A new term, “expired”, has been added to our public Register, Find a Nurse.
Until recently, a nurse’s membership status with the College commonly fell under one of three terms: active, resigned or revoked. However, in the interest of clarity, we have added “expired.”
The College made this decision after considering feedback from members and stakeholders. Many felt there were negative associations with “revoked” and assumed the term was related to a member’s conduct, which is often not the case.
Below are descriptions of how this and other terms will be used for scenarios in which a member’s registration has been terminated:
- “revoked” will be used for orders made by the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees
- “resigned” will be used when a nurse has made an active request to no longer be registered with the College
- “expired” will be used for other scenarios when a member no longer holds a certificate of registration in a specific class. For example, when a certificate of registration is no longer valid after a specified period of time, or when a certificate of registration is no longer valid because the member did not renew by a deadline
In addition to changes to Find a Nurse, the new terms will also be reflected in web content and other external communication such as letters from the College.
Understanding Practice Support
One way the College promotes safe nursing practice is through Practice Support. Nurses and employers can ask our Practice Support staff specific practice-related questions, and staff can help them access relevant practice resources and suggest ways to support their decision-making.
Have you ever wondered how we develop our Practice Support resources? Go to Practice Support to see the model we created to explain the process.
Volunteer position on CNO advisory committee
The College is looking for people with senior-level experience and expertise in compensation to serve on the Sub Committee on Compensation. This is a volunteer position for an advisory committee related to staff and board compensation practices.
If you are interested, email your resume and cover letter to Elizabeth Horlock, Director, Human Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to apply is Dec. 15, 2017.
Questions? Please call Elizabeth directly at 416 963-7542.