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Privacy of Health Information

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Protecting the privacy of your personal health information at CHEO

To provide the best care possible, we need to collect and use health information. We are committed to keeping your personal health information safe and confidential. CHEO follows rules set out in law about collecting, using and sharing personal health information. 

How does CHEO protect our personal health information?

We have safeguards in place to make sure your information stays private (for example: security measures, passwords and policies). Only people who need to see your personal health records are allowed to look at them.

To begin with, a custodial parent, legal guardian or a youth aged 12 and over has the right to decide how personal health information is shared. We assume you give consent to share health information with people involved in your care. We will ask for your consent before we collect, use or share health information for any other reason. You may withhold or withdraw this consent at any time by contacting our Health Records Department.

How is personal health information used at CHEO?

Health information is used in many ways...

Providing care

Health care providers and students use health information to diagnose, plan care and provide treatment. Only people who are part of the health care team can see your health information

Teaching others

CHEO is a teaching hospital, in partnership with the University of Ottawa. Medical, nursing and allied health students will see your health information during their hospital training. To protect your privacy, all students follow the same rules as CHEO staff.

Improving care

By keeping track of the care we provide, we can look back to see where we can improve. We can also check to see if changes we make are working. For example, tracking the number of infections patients get in hospital or problems with medications.


Researchers may use your health information while working on a study. All research studies at CHEO must be approved by our Research Ethics Board.


To receive payment from the Ministry of Health, our doctors must send a bill describing assessments and treatments.

Unless you tell us not to, CHEO may also:

  • Share information (all of it or some of it) with outside health care providers involved in your care. This may include access to electronic health records.
  • Conduct patient satisfaction surveys. We care about our patients and want to hear from you about the quality of care and service you received. We use this information to help improve the care we will provide in the future.
  • Support fundraising activities. Our Foundation raises funds for research, medical education, and improvements to patient care. We share only your name and address with our Foundation.

Who can see our health information?

We only share your health information with people who need it and have a right to it by law.

The people who may see this information include:

  • You, your child or teen, or the person responsible for making decisions for you, your child or teen.
  • Members of the health care team, both inside and outside the hospital.
  • Members of the health care team at other eCHN (electronic Child Health Network) sites. CHEO is a member of the eCHN. This program allows doctors and healthcare professionals at other eCHN member sites to have quick access to your health information from CHEO. This information will help doctors and health care professionals to make decisions about your care.
  • People working for a health agency, such as the Ministry of Health, required by law.
  • Other people for whom you have given your consent, or when required by law.

What are our rights?

You have the right to:

  • Know why your health information is collected, how it is used and shared.
  • Ask to see your own or your child’s personal health information and to have a copy of it.
  • Question how correct and complete your health information is, and to ask for corrections.
  • Express your concerns about how your health information is used or protected.
  • Withdraw your consent for the different ways we use your or your child’s health information. Just contact our Health Records Department.


CHEO Privacy Officer

613 737-7600 extension 6101

Contact our Privacy Officer if you:

  • Wish to withdraw or place conditions on how your health information is used
  • Want more information about our health information practices
  • If you wish to make a complaint regarding CHEO’s privacy practices.

Health Records Department

613 737-7600 extension 2348 or 2292
Contact us if you need to see or get a copy of your personal health information.

Patient/Family Representative 

613 737-7600 extension 3078 
Contact us if you do not wish to receive our satisfaction survey or have other questions or comments about CHEO.

CHEO Foundation

613 737-7600 extension 2780
Contact us if you want us to remove you from our mailing list.

If you think CHEO has violated your privacy rights, you may contact:

Information/Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1A8.
416-326-3333, or 1-800-387-0073

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