Ca: Hospitals get a pass, for now

Ken Gallinger answers a question about patient privacy in Ontario:

Q: Recently, I went to a doctor whose offices are at a Toronto hospital. I was told to get a “patient’s card,” which I did. Ever since, I’ve been swamped with fundraising letters from the hospital’s foundation. The only way I can figure they got my name is from the patient registry and, if so, that raises serious ethical questions. I thought patient information – including the fact that I was a patient – was protected by confidentiality. Surely it can’t be okay to use this information to raise money?

A: Surprisingly, Ontario’s privacy laws do permit hospitals to use patient information for fundraising purposes. In order for them to do so, the patient is required to give consent – but this is where it gets tricky.

Read more in  Toronto Star.

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