News release

Personal Health Information Legislation Introduced

Nova Scotian's personal health information would be better managed under proposed legislation introduced today, Nov. 4.

The Personal Health Information Act would provide consistent provincial rules for the management of personal information in health care.

"Patient privacy is a fundamental principle in delivering health care. At the same time, it is important that health care professionals can share information in ways that can improve care," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "This legislation balances these important objectives."

The proposed legislation sets out rules for how health information is collected, used, disclosed, retained and destroyed by the health-care sector in Nova Scotia. It better supports a system that uses electronic as well as paper health records and helps provide a more seamless flow of information.

Specific rules include provisions for privacy breach notification audit reports to track who has had access to electronic health records, and requests for people to access to their health information.

Nova Scotia does not have clear health information legislation. It is governed by a mix of federal and provincial laws, health profession codes, and organizational policies and procedures. Nova Scotia joins eight other provinces who have comprehensive legislation to manage personal health information.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotian's personal health information would be better managed under proposed legislation introduced today (November 4th).

The Personal Health Information Act will provide consistent provincial rules for the management of personal information in health care.

The legislation sets out rules for how health information is collected, used, disclosed, retained, and destroyed by the health-care sector in Nova Scotia.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says the legislation will balance patient privacy with allowing health-care professionals to share information in ways that can improve care.

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Media Contact:

Krista Higdon
Department of Health 902-424-2583 E-mail: