COVID-19 is placing stress on Canada’s public health system. Our health service is starting to offer virtual care to make sure that we can continue to care for our patients safely and effectively. This means that we will be using video and audio technologies for some patient visits rather than asking all patients to come into our office. We do our best to make sure that any information you give to us during virtual care visits is private and secure, but no video or audio tools are ever completely secure. There is an increased security risk that your health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties when using video or audio communications tools. We will:
- check the cached data and temporary files in our system to ensure confidential information is not stored in these areas unless secured or encrypted;
- ensure network access is limited to authorized users and/or devices, and data is encrypted during transmission;
- use encryption to protect data from this exposure; and
- manage additional security concerns if telemedicine is provided using a mobile device.
To help us keep your information safe and secure, you can:
- use only a secure connection, either a landline or password-protected, preferably encrypted Wi-Fi (public hotspots are not protected and could compromise privacy);
- check for adequate bandwidth and screen resolution if using videoconferencing technology; and
- find a quiet, private space to avoid interruptions and the potential for others to overhear.
For example, using a personal and encrypted email account is more secure than an unencrypted email account, and your access to the Internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest Wi-Fi connection.
If you are concerned about using video or audio tools for virtual care, other arrangements can be made. However, please note that visiting a health care provider in person comes with a higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 and the possibility of spreading the virus.
By providing your information, you consent to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information through video or audio communications (while following applicable privacy laws) in order to provide you with care. In particular, the following means of electronic communication may be used: email, videoconferencing (including Skype, Facetime, zoom, etc.), text messaging (including instant messaging), website/portal.”