News release

Personal Health Information Act To Be Proclaimed Tomorrow

Nova Scotians' personal health information will be better protected starting Saturday, June 1, when the Personal Health Information Act comes into effect.

In the past, this information was covered by several pieces of federal and provincial legislation, as well as health profession codes and organizational policies and procedures.

The Personal Health Information Act brings many of these rules together in one piece of legislation. Nova Scotia joins eight other provinces with similar legislation.

"Nova Scotians expect their personal health information to be kept private," said David Wilson, Minister of Health and Wellness. "At the same time, health care professionals must be able to share information in ways that can improve care. This legislation strikes the right balance between those two important goals."

Starting Saturday:

  • if Nova Scotians' personal health information is lost or stolen from a doctor's office, nursing home, hospital or other provider subject to the act, the patient will be notified
  • patients will be able to ask for a list of the people who have looked at their health information on a health-care provider's electronic database
  • hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, the Department of Health and Wellness and others covered by the act, will have a designated staff member to respond to privacy complaints
  • patients or their designate will be able to limit access to their health information, or withhold consent to access it

Personal health information may include a condition or treatment and financial data about eligibility for services and benefits. It may also include information on family health history, if the patient has provided it.

The Personal Health Information Act was introduced in 2010 and amended and proclaimed in 2012.

For more information on the act, visit the Department of Health and Wellness website at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/phia.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians' personal health information will be better protected starting tomorrow. That's when the Personal Health Information Act comes into effect.

The act will allow patients to limit access to their health information. They'll be able to ask for a list of who has accessed their health information on an electronic database. And if their health information has been lost or stolen from a doctor's office, nursing home or hospital, they will be informed.

Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson says this law better protects Nova Scotians' right to privacy, but also allows health-care workers to share information when they need to.

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