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Know your rights on health information: ombudsman

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Manitoba’s ombudsman wants you to understand what your privacy rights as more of your personal health information moves from papers files to computers.

"While there are technological safeguards in place to protect our personal health information and rules about who can access our information for specific purposes, it is important that we be aware of our rights and know how to exercise them under the electronic health records system," Acting Ombudsman Mel Holley said today in a release.

Personal health information, stored in the electronic health information system called eChart Manitoba, is now available to more than 10,000 authorized users in 260 health-care sites throughout the province, such as medical clinics and hospitals. Authorized eChart users can search, view and print personal health information from eChart.

EChart collects health information from different points of care, including prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies, immunizations, test results from participating labs and personal identifying information such as personal health identification numbers, birth dates and addresses.

Holley said to make Manitobans more aware of their health information rights, the Ombudsman’s office has produced a brochure outlining six rights.

1. Know why your personal health information is being collected by a health-care provider and whether it will be made available in eChart

2. Ask for a copy of your personal health information in eChart

3. Ask that any errors in your personal health information be corrected

4. Know who has looked at your personal health information in eChart

5. Have your personal health information hidden from view in eChart

6. Ask the Ombudsman's office to investigate if you are not satisfied with a decision or response you receive about any of these rights.

More information about eChart and health information rights is available in the brochure, a YouTube video and on the ombudsman's website at www.ombudsman.mb.ca. The brochure is available in both English and French. For print copies, call 204-982-9130, 1-800-665-0531 (toll-free in Manitoba), or email ombudsman@ombudsman.mb.ca.

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