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Glossary of Terms

Agent means a person that, with the custodian’s authority, acts for or on behalf of the custodian with respect to personal health information for the purposes of the custodian, and not the agent’s own purposes, whether or not the agent has the authority to bind the custodian, whether or not the agent is employed by the custodian and whether or not the agent is being paid.

Capable means mentally capable.

Collect means to gather, acquire, receive or obtain personal health information by any means from any source.

Custodian: See definition for Health Information Custodian.

Disclose, in relation to personal health information in the custody or under the control of a health information custodian or a person, means to make the information available or to release it to another health information custodian or to another person (this is different than a use of the information within your agency).

Health care means any observation, examination, assessment, care, service or procedure that is done for a health-related purpose and that
(a) is carried out or provided to diagnose, treat or maintain an individual’s physical or mental condition,
(b) is carried out or provided to prevent disease or injury or to promote health, or
(c) is carried out or provided as part of palliative care,
and includes,
(d) the compounding, dispensing or selling of a drug, a device, equipment or any other item to an individual, or for the use of an individual, pursuant to a prescription, and
(e) a community service that is described in subsection 2 (3) of the Long-Term Care Act, 1994 and provided by a service provider within the meaning of that Act.

Health care practitioner means
(a) a person who is a member within the meaning of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and who provides health care,
(b) a person who is registered as a drugless practitioner under the Drugless Practitioners Act and who provides health care,
(c) a person who is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and who provides health care, or
(d) any other person whose primary function is to provide health care for payment.

Health information custodian means a person or organization who has custody or control of personal health information as a result of their duties as follows:

    1. A health care practitioner or a person who operates a group practice of health care practitioners
    2. A service provider within the meaning of the Long-Term Care Act, 1994 who provides a community service to which that Act applies
    3. A community care access corporation within the meaning of the Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001
    4. A person who operates one of the following facilities, programs or services:

(i) A hospital within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act, a private hospital within the meaning of the Private Hospitals Act, a psychiatric facility within the meaning of the Mental Health Act, an institution within the meaning of the Mental Hospitals Act or an independent health facility within the meaning of the Independent Health Facilities Act

(ii) An approved charitable home for the aged within the meaning of theCharitable Institutions Act, a placement co-ordinator described in subsection 9.6 (2) of that Act, a home or joint home within the meaning of the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act, a placement co-ordinator described in subsection 18 (2) of that Act, a nursing home within the meaning of theNursing Homes Act, a placement co-ordinator described in subsection 20.1 (2) of that Act, or a care home within the meaning of the Tenant Protection Act, 1997

(iii) A pharmacy within the meaning of Part VI of the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act

(iv) A laboratory or a specimen collection centre as defined in section 5 of the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act

(v) An ambulance service within the meaning of the Ambulance Act

(vi) A home for special care within the meaning of the Homes for Special Care Act

(vii) A centre, program or service for community health or mental health whose primary purpose is the provision of health care

  1. An evaluator within the meaning of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 or an assessor within the meaning of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992
  2. A medical officer of health or a board of health within the meaning of theHealth Protection and Promotion Act
  3. The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care together with the Ministry if the context so requires
  4. Any other person prescribed as a health information custodian if the person has custody or control of personal health information as a result of or in connection with performing prescribed powers, duties or work or any prescribed class of such persons.

Health information network provider means a person who provides services to two or more health information custodians where the services are provided primarily to custodians to enable the custodians to use electronic means to disclose personal health information to one another, whether or not the person is an agent of any of the custodians.

Identifying information means information that identifies an individual, or for which it is reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances that it could be utilized, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual.

Incapable means mentally incapable.

Information practices means the policy of the custodian for actions in relation to personal health information, including
(a) when, how and the purposes for which the custodian routinely collects, uses, modifies, discloses, retains or disposes of personal health information, and
(b) the administrative, technical and physical safeguards and practices that the custodian maintains with respect to the information.

Mixed records means a record that includes both personal health information and non-personal health information (once it is a “mixed record” the whole record should be treated as a record of PHI under PHIPA).

Personal health information (PHI) means identifying information about an individual in oral or recorded form, if the information
(a) relates to the physical or mental health of the individual, including information that consists of the health history of the individual’s family,
(b) relates to the providing of health care to the individual, including the identification of a person as a provider of health care to the individual,
(c) is a plan of service within the meaning of the Long-Term Care Act, 1994 for the individual,
(d) relates to payments or eligibility for health care in respect of the individual,
(e) relates to the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance of the individual or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance,
(f) is the individual’s health number, or
(g) identifies an individual’s substitute decision-maker.

Note: There are exceptions to what is considered personal health information under PHIPA, including when
(a) the identifying information contained in the record relates primarily to one or more employees or other agents of the custodian, and
(b) the record is maintained primarily for a purpose other than the provision of health care or assistance in providing health care to the employees or other agents.

Privacy Officer is the contact person under PHIPA your agency has designated to answer questions from clients and the public about your privacy and information practices. For more information, see Chapter 8.

Proceeding includes a proceeding held in, before or under the rules of a court, a tribunal, a commission, a justice of the peace, a coroner, a committee of a college within the meaning of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, a committee of the Board of Regents continued under the Drugless Practitioners Act, a committee of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, an arbitrator or a mediator.

Record means a record of information in any form or in any medium, whether in written, printed, photographic or electronic form or otherwise, but does not include a computer program or other mechanism that can produce a record.

Research means a systematic investigation designed to develop or establish principles, facts or generalizable knowledge, or any combination of them, and includes the development, testing and evaluation of research.

Use in relation to personal health information in the custody or under the control of a health information custodian or a person, means to handle or deal with the information, but does not include to disclose the information. Sharing of PHI between a custodian and the custodian’s agent is a use of PHI, not a disclosure.