What is a Lockbox?
The term “lockbox” refers to the ability of a patient to electronically “lock away” or privatize information in their health record. A lockbox gives you the oppourtunity to restrict (or “lock”) access to part of, or all of your Personal Health Information from one or more healthcare providers.
How do you request a Lockbox?
You may request a lockbox by speaking with your primary care provider, nurse practitioner or the Privacy Officer of the Niagara North Family Health Team. Once you have decided that you would like to lock part or all of your chary, you will need to make a written or oral request to do so. Once completed, the request will be scanned/entered into your patient record.
Possible Consequences in having a Lockbox
Before making your decision putting your health information in a lockbox there are some things that you should consider:
- You may not receive the best possible health care if other providers are not able to access the health information that they need to provide you with care in a timely manner.
- You may have to undergo duplicate tests, procedures and/or health history questions if the existing information is not available.
- Your health care providers may not have enough information to safely provide you with services and thus may not be able to continue to provide you with care.
- Other consequences specific to you or your requests should be discussed with your health care provider directly.
Since your family physician is legally the health information custodian for your medical record, a lockbox cannot be issued to prevent your family physician from accessing your health record.
In addition, if your information is already in a lockbox, the “lock” may be broken and your information used or disclosed as permitted/required by law. Instances where this may occur include but are not limited to:
- Obtaining or processing payments
- Planning our serivces
- Quality improvement projects
- Disposing of information
- Complying with a court order
- Research (with research ethics approval)
- Teaching staff to provide health care
- Legal obligations (i.e. reports to Children’s Aid)
- Reporting to reduce/eliminate a significant risk of serious bodily harm to a person or group of persons
- Any other necessary circumstances