Health Care Professionals

ColonCancerCheck

Privacy Questions for Providers


Is CCO permitted to collect, use, and disclose colorectal cancer screening information about Ontarians?
Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is listed in the Regulation made under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), s. 39(1)(c), as a “prescribed registry” in respect of its Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry. Prescribed registries are a specific class of organizations that are permitted under PHIPA to collect personal health information from health information custodians (without individuals’ consent) for the purposes of facilitating and improving health care. In turn, prescribed registries are permitted to use and disclose personal health information received from health information custodians (without consent) for the same purposes.

Prescribed registries are only permitted to collect, use, and disclose personal health information in this way once the organization :

  1. puts privacy practices into place,
  2. makes those practices publicly available, and
  3. receives approval from the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC)

CCO and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care established ColonCancerCheck to manage the Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry, increase access to colorectal cancer screening, and ultimately reduce mortality due to colorectal cancer. ColonCancerCheck (i.e. CCO, as a prescribed person who compiles or maintains a registry of personal health information for purposes of facilitating or improving the provision of health care) met its prescribed registry requirements and received IPC approval of its privacy practices on April 7, 2008. As such, ColonCancerCheck may collect, use, and disclose colorectal cancer screening information about Ontarians in order to facilitate and improve the provision of health care, particularly colorectal cancer care.

Under what statutory privacy authority is ColonCancerCheck permitted to send a participant’s Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) results to his or her health care provider?
Section 49(1)(a) of PHIPA permits a prescribed registry that is not a health information custodian under that Act, such as CCO in respect of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry (which operates under the name ColonCancerCheck), to disclose personal health information to a health information custodian to facilitate or improve health care. This means that ColonCancerCheck can send (i.e. disclose) a participant’s FOBT result to his or her health care provider (i.e. a health information custodian) so that the provider may provide follow up colorectal cancer care.

Under what statutory authority does ColonCancerCheck collect FOBT results from the laboratory that processed the test?
ColonCancerCheck is permitted to collect FOBT results from health information custodians for the purposes of improving or facilitating the provision of health care (per section 39(4) PHIPA). Medical laboratories are considered “health information custodians” under PHIPA. Therefore, ColonCancerCheck may collect participants’ FOBT results from such laboratories in order to facilitate the participant’s colorectal cancer care by, for example, reminding participants with negative FOBT results to be screened every two years.

Does ColonCancerCheck seek participant consent before disclosing the participant’s FOBT results to his or her health care provider?
Yes. ColonCancerCheck generally takes a consent-based approach to the disclosure of these results to health care providers, despite the fact that it is authorized by law to make such disclosures without consent. For example, where an unattached participant receives a positive FOBT result and requires a referral for a colonoscopy, ColonCancerCheck obtains the unattached participant’s oral consent before disclosing the participant’s results and contact information to the provider providing follow-up care.

Can individuals (e.g. my patients) choose not to be contacted by ColonCancerCheck?
Yes. Individuals may choose, at any time, not to be contacted by ColonCancerCheck. If the individual does not wish to be contacted by ColonCancerCheck, he or she must :

What safeguards are in place to protect the personal health information in the Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry?
ColonCancerCheck employs administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the personal health information collected from laboratories and other sources.

Who has access to the personal health information retained in the Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry?
Only ColonCancerCheck staff who require access to the Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry to perform their job functions have access to the personal health information. For example, ColonCancerCheck staff who are responsible for drafting invitation letters or notifying participants of their results, have access to the Registry. The ColonCancerCheck Data Steward is responsible for authorizing ColonCancerCheck staff’s use of the Registry and confirming that such access is still appropriate. There is no external or internal access to the Registry by any users other than ColonCancerCheck staff.

For More Information

For more information about ColonCancerCheck, call ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-866-410-5853.
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
Email : ColonCancerCheck.moh@ontario.ca or
Visit : Cancer Care Ontario