This section is about the independent professionals (such as doctors, nurses, or therapists in private practice) who give you health care and who aren’t part of a hospital or health authority clinic or government program.
Generally, your relationship with independent health care providers is protected by their ethical and legal duty to keep your information confidential and not tell others about it.
These professionals are allowed to collect, use and disclose your personal health information for the purpose of giving you care and treatment and for related billing and administrative purposes.
When is written consent needed?
Remember, most of the time they won’t ask you for a written consent. They are allowed to assume that you consent to their sharing whatever personal health information is necessary with other health professionals, such as a specialist, that they send you to see.
This is because most patients expect that when their doctor refers them to another professional for consultation, they will also send along whatever information that professional needs to give the patient care and treatment.
If you want them to share your information with someone else, such as a family member, or your lawyer or your insurance company, your doctor will most likely need those instructions in writing.
You can tell your doctor or other health care provider if you DON’T WANT your personal health information to be shared for care and treatment purposes and they have to follow your instructions. Sometimes this is called “masking” or “opting out” or “limiting disclosure.” Click here for more information on how to limit disclosure of your personal health information.
Remember, you must specifically tell your provider, usually in writing, if you do not want your personal health information seen or shared by others. Your provider may have a form for you to use. If not, try using one of these forms.
In some limited situations health care providers are required by law to disclose certain information about you:
For billing and administrative purposes, information must be sent to the Medical Services Plan (MSP)
If you are unable to drive
If there is suspected child abuse
If you are wounded by a gun or knife
If you are a danger to others
But except for these types of situations, and a few other extremely rare circumstances health care providers generally need your consent to collect, use or disclose your personal health information.
For more information see our page When Can and Can't they Tell Others?