Investigation Results in Recommendations to Clarify the Collection of Health Information

May 25, 2011

An investigation by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner into a complaint has lead to Alberta Health Services developing new guidelines for collecting information without consent.

An individual was admitted to Foothills Hospital in January 2006 under the Mental Health Act (MHA) and claimed that a nurse and a doctor collected his health information without consent. He also claimed that staff at the Peter Lougheed Centre collected and used his records from the Foothills Hospital without his consent after he went there to get a second opinion.

Investigator Leahann McElveen determined that the complainant’s health information was collected in compliance with the Health Information Act (HIA).

McElveen however made recommendations to Alberta Health Services to clarify the indirect collection of health information, leading to development of a new authorization form to be used by staff, as well as new guidelines and training programs.

Alberta Health Services accepted and implemented the recommendations.