Like most professionals, we have always appreciated the trust that our clients place in us.
One part of that trust is that we will treat our clients’ personal information and records with respect, and only release that information to a third party when the client asks, or when the client’s care and good common sense dictate.
Recent government legislation makes this issue more complex. We are now governed by the provincial Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which spell out our requirements. Most of these requirements are things that we have always done. A few are new and make good sense, e.g. short screensaver times on our computer monitors.
You can trust that regardless of how this legislation evolves, we will always care about your privacy. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you ever have any concerns.
The following points address many of the issues regarding your personal information:
- Your dentist is the one who is ethically responsible for safeguarding your personal information.
- You are always welcome to view the records that we keep about you, including your chart.
- From time-to-time, we will use client information for teaching or research purposes, but only if the individual client involved is not identifiable, unless they provide their consent.
- We will take full-face photographs of some aesthetic cases for the purposes of communicating your requirements with our Registered Dental Technicians and ceramists. We usually retain these in your chart afterward unless you request otherwise.
- The biggest issues we face in protecting your privacy come in dealing with insurance companies on your behalf. If we feel that their requests are unreasonable, we will ask you before releasing further information.
- A smaller, but important issue is when payroll staff with your employer contact us with inappropriate questions about your health and care. Again, we will contact you if we feel that their requests are not appropriate.
- In answer to a common question, our computer networks are firewalled.
- When a client passes away, their chart is destroyed by shredding. Also do this if a client leaves the practice, for example if they move away, we keep their records for ten years after their last visit, or until their 28th birthday, whichever comes second, as we keep records for ten years after a client turns eighteen.
- If you make financial arrangements through a third party such as a bank or finance company, we do not maintain any of your financial information unless you want us to submit it for you as a courtesy, in which case we shred it after submission.
- If you have a personal matter that you wish to discuss in private with the dentist or staff, we will gladly discuss it in a private office.
- Please respect the privacy of other clients while you are in the clinic.
Again, if you have any questions about your privacy and personal information, ask your dentist. We are proud of our professional practice, and will make every effort to make you comfortable about how we handle your records.