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Protecting Patient Privacy


Ontario Structured Psychotherapy (OSP) is an initiative supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH).  The goal of the OSP program is to expand the availability of psychotherapy and related approaches for Ontarians experiencing depression and anxiety-based concerns.  This program will give you the opportunity to participate in psychotherapy treatment with a qualified professional that best meets your needs and preferences. OSP services are provided free of charge by a qualified professional.

Participation in the OSP Program requires the collection and sharing of personal information (PI) and personal health information (PHI) – just like when you visit a medical doctor in Ontario. The OSP program is committed to establishing standards of privacy, confidentiality and data security to protect the personal information and personal health information of our clients.

To help determine what services would best support your needs, personal information and personal health information will be collected and maintained by St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) as managers of OSP in the West region of Ontario, called OSP West. St. Joseph’s is the Health Information Network Provider (HINP) that has the role of supporting the Service Delivery Sites (SDS) where you will receive care to securely share when indicated electronic personal information and personal health information.  This information will include your:

  • Ontario health card number
  • Date of birth
  • Demographic information
  • Treatment and assessment information

You may also receive services from one or more providers within our service network depending on your needs if so your health information will be securely shared with these providers as part of your care.  Program data will also be shared with Ontario Health to improve the quality of the OSP program.


Data Privacy and Confidentiality FAQ

How will my Personal Health Information be collected, used and protected?

What information is being collected and why?

As a client of this program, your Ontario health card number, basic personal information (e.g., your name, DOB, address), demographic information (e.g., age, gender), and treatment assessment results will be collected and shared with your service provider to understand what treatment is most appropriate for you, to connect you with a service provider, and to improve OSP West’s service. Program data will be shared with Ontario Health to improve mental health services in Ontario.

How is your information used?

The information we collect from you is used:

  • To help us understand who is using the program to better tailor the services delivered and determine how the program can be more accessible to clients with a variety of backgrounds and identities.
  • To provide you with quality health care in our program and to share with those providing you care outside the service, e.g., your family physician, Home and Community Care providers for your ongoing care in the community;
  • To comply with legal and regulatory requirements;
  • For education to keep current health care practitioners up to date and to train new health care practitioners for the future;
  • For research to make us the best we can be and to help develop new treatment and technologies for the future.
  • To send appointment reminders to clients via telephone or by email/mail.

If your information were to be used for any other purpose, your specific permission would be required first.

Who do we share your information with?

The information will be collected and maintained by the agency at which you are receiving treatment, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and the provincial data repository (DATIS) which supports agencies across Ontario to report required data for publicly funded mental health programs.  St. Joseph’s Health Care London and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are jointly partnered organizations acting as the Network Lead Organization (NLO) of OSP West to provide you with health care using shared electronic client Measurement Based Care systems.  Ontario Health has tasked the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) and its Drug and Alcohol Treatment Information System (DATIS) with supporting the OSP Program.  DATIS acts as the provincial data repository and is responsible for storing, analyzing and reporting on OSP Program clients from all service providers across Ontario.

Are there any risks or benefits to participating in this program?

The benefits of participating in the program include the opportunity to access free evidence-based psychotherapy and related approaches and hopefully you will experience an improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety by the end of treatment.  The potential risks of treatment include the possibility that when thinking or talking about upsetting aspects of your life, you will experience a temporary increase in distress. 

Is participation in OSP voluntary?

Your participation in this program is entirely voluntary and you are free to choose to withdraw from the program at any time by contacting OSP West at OSPWest@stjoes.ca or by phoning 1-833-944-9966.

Will my personal health information remain private and confidential?

Yes.  Your privacy will be protected and your personal health information will be kept confidential.  This is required by law under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).  This Act sets out rules that must be followed when collecting, storing, using and/or sharing personal health information for service provision.

There are some exceptions to confidentiality where information may be released with or without your consent.  The exceptions are:

  1. If your care provider believes that you are at imminent risk of suicide or serious physical harm to yourself.
  2. If your care provider believes that there is an imminent risk of serious physical harm or injury to another person.
  3. If your care provider suspects a child under 16 may be at risk for abuse or neglect.
  4. If your care provider believes that any regulated health professional has sexually abused or have been sexually inappropriate with a client.
  5. If your care provider believes that a person living in a long-term care facility is being abused, neglected, or at risk of harm.
  6. If your care provider is compelled to provide records for a legal proceeding (e.g., court subpoena) or as part of a missing person’s investigation.

In order to provide you with the best and most appropriate assessment and treatment available, your information may be shared with other service providers within OSP West, as deemed necessary by your clinician. 

In addition, your service provider may discuss your information with their clinical consultant and other clinicians within OSP West as part of ongoing consultation and professional training.

Communicating with your care team by email:

At OSP West, we are committed to protecting the privacy of our patients. During your therapy, you will be asked to provide your personal email address as another option for the clinician to communicate with you. 

Things you should know about email communication

Relating to your care:

  • Your Care Provider will not use email to communicate sensitive information.
  • Your Care Provider will not convey emergency advice or treatment through email. If you are experiencing medical distress, please visit an emergency department or call 911.
  • Your Care Provider may make decisions about your care based on information provided to them via email.
  • Your Care Provider will print email communication relating to your care and place a copy on your health record.
  • Depending on the care team, email may not be checked frequently. Please do not use email for questions or concerns that are time-sensitive or urgent in nature.

Regarding the risks of this type of communication:

Email is not a secure or confidential form of communication. As with all email, there is risk that your health information could be intercepted or unintentionally disclosed. 

Email messages may be delayed for technical reasons or may inadvertently be filtered and sent to your spam or trash folder.

Although OSP West’s devices have anti-virus software, viruses and malware may be unintentionally transmitted by email.


Other considerations:

You are not obligated to provide your email address and you may stop communication via email at any time for any reason.  Your care team also has the right to end email communication with you at any time for any reason.

If you have already provided your email address, but would like to opt-out of receiving future email communication, please contact your care team.


Who can I contact if I have more questions regarding privacy and confidentiality of my data in the OSP program?

If a client has any questions, concerns or complaints related to OSP West’s information or privacy practices, they can contact the OSP West Privacy department at 519-646-6100 ext. 65591, or through email at ospwestprivacy@sjhc.london.on.ca.

If a client feels that their concerns regarding compliance with Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) have not been addressed, they may also contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC):

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street east, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4W 1A8
Web: www.ipc.on.ca
Telephone: 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073