Protecting Your Privacy


Regionally Shared Electronic IT Solutions



The Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA 2004) requires anyone that collects, uses and/or shares your health information to put rigorous methods in place to protect it. You have the right to know how it is used and consent to or refuse the collection, use and/or sharing, other than for purposes that are permitted or required by law. PHIPA also gives you the right to see the information and to ask for it to be changed or corrected if you think there is an error or inaccuracy in the record.

Patients obtain health care in a wide variety of locations. These include the office of their family health care provider or health team, community hospitals and acute care hospitals where they may be referred for specialized care. Historically, patients' medical information has not always followed them throughout their health care experience.

Hospitals across South Western Ontario are participating as partners in Shared Electronic Information Technology Solutions. This partnership allows the sharing of your personal health information with your health care providers over a highly secure network, regardless of where you seek treatment. Sharing this information is intended to:

  • Reduce the need for duplicate diagnostic procedures (Lab work or x-rays)

  • Reduce the wait time for treatment

  • Reduce the need to transfer you to another health care facility 

  • Improve your health care provider's access to a range of services and information while in your own community..

These hospitals are committed to keeping your personal health information safe and confidential. - Privacy and confidentiality education is a condition of employment and is mandatory for all users, prior to gaining access to electronic IT solutions.

  • All users of Electronic IT solutions; staff, physicians, volunteers, students and contracted staff are responsible to ensure confidentiality and privacy of the information you have entrusted to them.

  • All users of Electronic IT solutions have their own unique username and password. 

  • The Electronic IT solutions are audited to ensure appropriate use.

What is a Shared Electronic Information Technology Solution?

There are four Shared Electronic Information Technology Solutions, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) also known as Electronic Patient Record (EPR), Picture Archive Communication System (PACS), the Digital Imaging Repository (DI-r) and Emergency Neurosurgery Image Transfer System (ENITS) (coming soon)

The Electronic Heath Record (EHR).

The EHR contains your health history (such as your medical and surgical history, obstetrical history, and diagnostic information (lab, x-ray heart, and lung tests), the records of your visits to any of the participating hospitals and what health care was provided to you during those visits. We collect demographic information such as your legal name, date of birth, address, Health Card Number and extended health insurance numbers information in this EHR to link your health records together into one health record for you and your health care provider.

The Picture Archive Communication System (PACS)

The PACS contains digital imaging information, such as the physician order, the digital image, formerly known as x-rays, and the digital imaging report of findings and your demographic information.

The Digital Imaging Repository (DI-r)

The DI-r contains a copy of your digital images, formerly known as x-rays from each partnered organization's Picture Archive Communication System (PACS). The DI-r is shared among hospitals from Tobermory in the north to Tillsonburg in the south, Windsor in the west and to Fort Erie in the east.

The Emergency Neurosurgery Image Transfer System (ENITS)

The following table shows the electronic solution that is shared by the participating organizations.

Name of Organization EPR PACS DI-r
London Health Sciences Centre X X X
St. Joseph's Health Care, London X X X
Woodstock General Hospital X X X
Alexandra Hospital -Ingersoll X X X
Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital X X X
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital X X X
Middlesex Health Alliance
(Strathroy Middlesex General and Four Counties Health Services)
South Huron Hospital Association X X X
Listowel Wingham Health Alliance X   X
Alexandra Marine General Hospital-Goderich   X X
Huron Perth Health Association (Stratford General, St. Mary's, Clinton and Seaforth)   X X
Grey Bruce Hospitals(Owen Sound, Walkerton, Hanover)     X
Bluewater(Sarnia)     X
Windsor Hospitals (Windsor General, Hotel Dieu and Leamington)     X
Chatham Kent Hospitals     X
St. Mary's General Hospital - Kitchener     X
Wellington Health Care Alliance (WHCA) - Groves Memorial Comm. Hospital (GMCH)     X
North Wellington Health Care Corporation (NWHC) - Louise Marshall Hospital - Mount Forest     X
North Wellington Health Care Corporation (NWHC) - Palmerston and District Hospital - Palmerston     X
Guelph General Hospital - Guelph     X
Grand River Hospital - Kitchener     X
Cambridge Memorial Hospital(CMH) - Cambridge     X
HHS WHGH - Hamilton Health Sciences/West Haldimand General Hospital - Hagersville     X
NGH - Norfolk General Hospital - Simcoe     X
NHS DMH - Niagara Health System - Douglas Memorial Site - Fort Erie     X
NHS GNC - Greater Niagara General Site - Niagara Falls     X
NHS NTL - Niagara-on-the-Lake Site     X
NHS OSS - Ontario Street Site - St. Catherine's     X
NHS SCG - St. Catherine's General Site - St. Catherine's     X
NHS PCG - Port Colborne Site     X
NHS WHS - Welland Hospital Site - Welland     X
SJHH - St. Joseph's Healthcare - Hamilton     X
Joseph Brant Hospital - Burlington     X
Brantford General Hospital - Brantford     X
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital - Grimsby     X
Haldimand War Memorial Hospital - Dunnville     X
London X-Ray Associates     X
Imagus Inc.     X
Owen Sound Family Medical Clinic     X
Burlington Ultrasound & X-Ray/Fairview Ultrasound & X-Ray     X
Wentworth-Halton X-Ray     X

Who can access, view, use or disclose/share my information in these shared electronic solutions? 

Hospital staff, physicians, students and contracted staff who may require access to patient information to perform their roles at the hospital are for example;

  • Members of your health care team to provide or facilitate health care.

  • Health Records staff, to fulfill requests for access to and/or disclosure of your information.

  • Finance department staff to perform billing functions

For further information regarding privacy and your privacy rights, please contact the Privacy Officer at your local hospital.

Keeping Your Information Secure, Private and Confidential

SWODIN is committed to keeping personal and health information secure, private and confidential. All electronic health projects such as SWODIN have layers of security checks in place to ensure that only those authorized are accessing the data.

Hospitals across southwestern Ontario are revising policies and processes to work toward compliance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act.

Staff, physicians, volunteers, students and contracted staff at our hospitals have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the privacy of patients/residents/clients and their families, as well as other staff, physicians, volunteers and contracted staff, and to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

If you have further questions, please contact the privacy department at your local hospital.

About the Personal Health Information Protection Act

The Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) came into effect November 1, 2004, and sets out rules to protect a patient's personal health record across the health system.

Healthcare providers and organizations in the healthcare sector must follow these rules when collecting, using or sharing a patient's personal health information.

PHIPA also gives patients the right to see their health records and correct any mistakes. The legislation also has rules for non-health information custodians such as insurance companies and employers, who receive personal health information from a health information custodian.

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