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Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS)

Questions And Answers

What is the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS)?

OLIS is an electronic system that can store and transmit laboratory requisitions and test results in digital form. Hospitals, community laboratories and other health care providers that have authority to access OLIS can use it to collect, use and disclose lab requisitions and results electronically. In particular, OLIS may be used by health care providers involved in your care to access and transmit your lab test information to one another. Access to OLIS will permit the timely sharing of your test results between a laboratory and your health care providers, to facilitate the provision of health care to you.

 

How does the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) relate to the Electronic Health Record?

The Ministry, working with eHealth Ontario, plans to incorporate the information contained in OLIS into the electronic health records that are being created for all Ontarians.

 

How many laboratories are currently participating in OLIS?

Three community labs, including their specimen collection centres, and four hospitals, are currently submitting laboratory test information to OLIS. Specifically,

 

How does OLIS facilitate the provision of health care?

Access to OLIS will enable health care providers to have timely, electronic information and historical test results relating to their patients. This can reduce the number of unnecessary, repeated tests, saving patients time and contributing to cost savings for the health system.

 

How will I know if my information is in OLIS?

If you have had a laboratory test processed at one of the laboratories participating in OLIS (listed in A3), your test results are stored in OLIS, even if you may have withdrawn consent to prevent health care providers from accessing your lab test information. If your consent has been withdrawn, only the health care provider(s) identified on the lab order(s) can access the applicable lab test information. Your withdrawal of consent may have been applied to ALL of your lab test information in OLIS, or only to tests in a specific lab order.

 

I recently saw a public notice about OLIS. What is this about?

In December 2010, the Ministry, a health information custodian subject to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), will assume custody and control of patients' laboratory test results submitted by laboratories to, and stored in, OLIS.

The purpose of the public notice is to inform the public that the Ministry is assuming custody and control of OLIS. The notice included information on how individuals can withdraw or reinstate their consent for their personal health information in OLIS to be disclosed to the Ministry, and used to support health care providers.

 

Will the Ministry's custody and control of OLIS impact the care that I receive?

The Ministry, with the assistance of its agent eHealth Ontario, will promote the use of OLIS as an electronic information transmission system so as to improve and facilitate the provision of health care to you.

If you choose to withdraw your consent and block access to your lab test results, the Ministry and health care providers other than the provider who ordered the tests, will not be able to access your personal health information electronically through OLIS.

 

What is the purpose for the Ministry's collection of my personal health information in OLIS?

The Ministry plans to provide the information in OLIS to eHealth Ontario, acting as the Ministry's agent under PHIPA, in order for the Ministry and eHealth Ontario to incorporate the information in OLIS into electronic tools, so that it can be disclosed in a secure manner to relevant health care providers, in order to improve patient care.

 

What precautions are being taken to ensure that my personal health information contained in OLIS will be securely collected, used and disclosed?

The Ministry has extensive policies and procedures in place to protect your personal health information. These policies and procedures can be reviewed on the Ministry's website.

As the health information custodian who has custody and control of OLIS, the Ministry is responsible for the personal health information contained in OLIS. As an agent of the Ministry, eHealth Ontario is accountable to the Ministry, and must follow strict guidelines on the collection, use retention and disclosure of the personal health information that is provided to it by the Ministry.

If you would like more information about the collection, use and disclosure of your personal health information contained in OLIS or if at any time, you change your mind about allowing the Ministry and your health care providers electronic access to your laboratory test results in OLIS, you may call Service Ontario at: 1-800-291-1405 (TTY : 1-800-268-7095).

 

What if I don't want my information in the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) to be shared with the Ministry or health care providers?

You may withdraw your consent to the use of your personal health information by the Ministry and eHealth Ontario, and the Ministry's disclosure of your personal health information to health care providers, other than the provider who ordered the test. Under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act, laboratories are required, by law, to provide your test results to the provider who ordered the test and therefore you may not withdraw your consent to this disclosure of your test results.

Although the Ministry will have custody and control of your lab test information in OLIS, the Ministry and health care providers will not access any of your information through OLIS, which you have already 'blocked' through a previous submission of a withdrawal of consent form. If the existing block only applies to a particular lab test order, all of your other information that may be in OLIS remains accessible to the Ministry and health care providers involved in your care, unless you make a new request for withdrawal of consent.

If you want to make a new request for withdrawal of consent, or if you want to reinstate your consent, you may do so in the following ways:

 

If I have withdrawn my consent to prevent access by the Ministry and health care providers to my laboratory test information in OLIS, how can I reinstate my consent?

If you have previously restricted access to all of your information in OLIS, you may reinstate your consent to allowing the Ministry and Ontario health care providers to have access to your information that has been, or will be, submitted into OLIS by calling Service Ontario at 1-800-291-1405 (TTY : 1-800-268-7095) at your convenience.

Due to technological limitations in OLIS, if you previously restricted access to a specific lab order, your consent cannot be reinstated in respect of that particular lab order.

 

Why is ServiceOntario the contact centre for a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care program?

In its role as a service provider organization established under the Ministry of Government Services Act, ServiceOntario provides call centre support services for matters relating to the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), on behalf of the ministry. ServiceOntario Centres are located in 63 communities across Ontario and provide information, referral and assistance with many online government services including:

ServiceOntario provides a secure environment for collecting OLIS consent directives from individuals, and for sending those directives to eHealth Ontario for processing.

 

If I choose to withdraw my consent in respect of my laboratory test information in OLIS, will the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care access it?

If you withdraw your consent, neither the ministry nor health care providers other than the provider who ordered your test, will use OLIS to access your laboratory test results for any purpose. However, if at any time, you choose to reinstate your consent, the ministry would access your information to apply your reinstatement request.

 

Which health care providers will use OLIS to access my laboratory test results in OLIS?

Health care providers will only use OLIS to access your laboratory test results where your laboratory test results would assist the providers in delivering health care to you. If you withdraw your consent, only the health care provider who ordered each particular laboratory test will be able to see that test result in OLIS.

 

Can health care providers who don't order laboratory tests for patients access the results in OLIS if the patient has withdrawn their consent?

If a patient withdraws their consent, health care providers who did not order that patient's laboratory tests will not be able to access them through OLIS. If a non-ordering health care provider needs to see a patient's laboratory test results, the provider would need to obtain the patient's consent by asking the ordering health care provider to give the provider the results via a method that does not involve the use of OLIS.

 

When will Ontario's laboratories and health care providers have access to OLIS?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working with eHealth Ontario and health sector representatives on an expansion plan for OLIS. It is anticipated that laboratories and health providers will gradually gain access to OLIS such that all labs and all providers in the province will be connected to the system by 2015. The ministry and/or eHealth Ontario will continue to engage Regulatory Health Colleges and/or relevant health care associations as they move forward.

 

Will health care providers working in private insurance companies be able to access my laboratory test information in OLIS, and then possibly deny my coverage based upon what is found?

Health care providers will only be accessing a patient's personal health information in OLIS for the purpose of providing health care to that individual. In his or her capacity as an agent for an insurance company, a doctor is not providing health care to the patient and therefore is not permitted to access the information in OLIS for that purpose.

 

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline
at 1-800-291-1405
TTY 1-800-387-5559
Hours of operation : 8:30 am - 5:00 pm