Thursday, October 28, 2004

Alberta Medical Association expresses concern about allowed disclosures under the province's Health Information Act

The Health Information Act of Alberta has recently come under the microscope as a result of a review of the legislation by a committee of the Alberta legislature (see Alberta legislature committee recommends changes to the Health Information Act (HIA)). The President of the AMA has expressed concerns about the many categories of non-treatment-related disclosures of personal health information that can be made without the knowledge and consent of the patient. See the recent article in the Medical Post (19 October 2004): AMA concerned law does not protect confidentiality:


What the Health Information Act lacks is a fundamental commitment that, in non-direct-care situations, protecting patient privacy is more important than sharing information, Dr. Ballantine explained. The association believes that patient privacy should be regarded as more important than sharing information for non-direct-care purposes.

Patients expect that physicians and other providers will share their health information to provide direct care. Patients don't expect, though, that their information can be shared, without consent, for all of the non-direct-care purposes authorized by the act. That's where the problem lies, she stressed...."

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