Your privacy with Nova Scotia Health Authority

Nova Scotia Health Authority Privacy Statement

Nova Scotia Health Authority is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal health information, in accordance with the Personal Health Information Act.

Access to your personal health information is available to those who need to know in order to provide care, including: physicians, nurses, technicians, therapists and other health professionals. They are responsible for following Nova Scotia’s Personal Health Information Act.

In collecting, using or disclosing your personal health information, we take measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the information is protected in accordance with the Personal Health Information Act.  This Privacy Statement provides a brief description of the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s practices for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information.

Collecting your personal health information

The personal information we collect may include:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Provincial health card number
  • Address
  • Health history
  • Information about the tests, procedures and care you received

We collect personal health information directly from you or from the person acting on your behalf. Sometimes, we ask other health professionals or health care organizations involved in your care for your personal health information. This helps us provide care to you. We may collect personal health information from other sources, if the law allows or with your consent. Personal health information may be collected and stored in different ways. This includes your paper chart, electronic file and images. 

Using and disclosing your health information

We use and disclose your personal health information to:

  • Treat and care for you during your stay or visit
  • Help other health professionals outside of Nova Scotia Health Authority who are involved in your care to provide health services to you. This could include your family doctor, pharmacist or nursing home staff.
  • Receive payment from your provincial health care plan, private insurer or other body for delivering care to you.
  • Support Nova Scotia Health Authority’s educational activities. We are a learning organization.
  • Conduct activities that help us improve the quality of care and patient safety, and manage risk
  • Conduct patient experience surveys
  • Conduct research, if you give your express consent. Note: Some research studies do not require your consent. These studies have safeguards in place to protect your privacy under the Personal Health Information Act. This includes review of all studies by a Research Ethics Board.
  • Give family or friends confirmation that you are in hospital, your room and telephone extension, and general condition (e.g. fair, good) on the day they request the information
  • Notify a representative of your faith group so that they can visit during your stay, if you identify your faith group.
  • Plan and manage our operations. For example, staff scheduling, management of beds, etc.
  • Enable the provincial Department of Health and Wellness to plan and manage the health system.
  • Fulfill other purposes permitted under law. Some examples: reporting abuse, reporting certain communicable diseases, in accordance with a warrant or subpoena.

Your rights

You may withdraw or withhold your consent for the following uses and disclosures of health information. We will do what we reasonably can to meet your wishes.

  • Confirmation of your status as a patient. As soon as you are admitted to hospital, please let staff attending to your care know that you want this information kept private.
  • Use or disclosure to a specific health professional or health organization involved in your care.
  • Educational activities
  • Patient experience surveys
  • Notification of religious representatives (if you have identified your religion)

You have the right, subject to some exceptions, to

  • see and ask for a copy of your health information 
  • ask us to make corrections to inaccurate or incomplete health information 
  • ask for a audit on who has accessed your personal health information. 
  • be told if your information is lost, stolen or shared with someone without authorization. 
  • change your mind if you have previously given us permission to use or share your health information.

For more information

To learn more about how we protect your personal health information or to express a concern about privacy and confidentiality, email privacy@nshealth.ca