Health Quality Council of Alberta Allowed to Collect Survey Information

September 18, 2007

An investigation by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has determined the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) has authority to collect health and personal information necessary to conduct a survey about the quality of care in Alberta emergency departments.

The issue came to light following a complaint to the Commissioner’s office from an individual who had received an 80 page survey by mail, which contained a covering letter that included some of his health information.  The health information had been provided to the HQCA by the David Thompson Health Region (DTHR) so that a sample of patients could be selected to survey. The individual questioned how the HQCA obtained his health information and its efforts to secure the information.

The investigation concluded that the David Thompson Health Regionhad authority to disclose health information to the HQCA who had authority to collect the information, under the Health Information Act (HIA) and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The investigation also found that the HQCA had conducted a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) prior to conducting the survey, and had taken reasonable steps to secure the information.