We collect Personal Information: Related and Secondary Purposes
Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common
examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
- To invoice patients for optometric services, products or treatments that were not paid for at the time the service was provided, to process credit card payments
or to collect unpaid accounts either ourselves or through a collection agency or attorney.
- When the cost of some optometric services, products or treatments provided by the practice to patients is paid for by third parties (e.g., OHIP, WSIB, private insurance, Assistive Devices Program, and various social assistance programs). These third-party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate patient entitlement to this funding.
- To advise patients, by telephone, mail or e-mail, that their vision and eye care needs or treatment should be reviewed (e.g., to schedule their next appointment, to ensure that their eye glasses and/or contact lenses are still functioning properly and appropriate for their current needs and to consider modifications or replacement).
- To advise patients, prospective patients, and others of special events or opportunities (e.g., a seminar, development of a new service, arrival of a new product) that we have available.
- Rideau Optometric Clinic reviews patient and other files for the purpose of administration, business planning and ensuring that we provide high quality services, including assessing the performance of our staff. In addition, external consultants (e.g., auditors, lawyers, practice consultants, quality assurance programs) may, on our behalf, do audits and continuing quality improvement reviews of our practice, including reviewing patient files and interviewing our staff. In rare cases, our practice or our consultants may make inquiries to verify that the information we have about you is accurate.
- Optometrists are regulated by the College of Optometrists of Ontario who may inspect our records and interview our staff as a part of their regulatory activities in the public interest. In addition, as professionals, we report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. Also, our practice believes that it should report information suggesting serious illegal behaviour to the authorities. External regulators have their own strict privacy obligations. Sometimes these reports include personal information about our patients, or other individuals, to support the concern (e.g., improper services). Also, like all organizations, various government agencies (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review our files and interview our staff as a part of their mandates. In these circumstances, we may consult with professionals (e.g., lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back to us.
- Patients or other individuals we deal with may have questions about our products or services after they have been received. We also provide ongoing optometric services for many of our patients over a period of months or years for which our previous records are helpful. We retain our patient information for a minimum of 10 years after the last contact to enable us to respond to those questions and provide these services (our regulatory College also requires us to retain our patient records).
- If Rideau Optometric Clinic or its assets were to be sold, the prospective purchaser would want to conduct a "due diligence" review of the practice records to ensure that it is a viable business that has been honestly portrayed to the prospective purchaser. This due diligence may involve some review that may include releasing personal information. The prospective purchaser would not be allowed to remove or record personal information and, before being provided a review of the clinical files and records, the prospective purchaser must provide a written promise to keep all personal information confidential. Only reputable purchasers who have already agreed to purchase the practice or its assets would be provided, at closing, complete access to personal information. The purchaser would be required to maintain the same principles of privacy as established under the present privacy legislation.
You can choose not to be part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by declining to receive notice of special events or opportunities, by paying for your services in advance). We do not, however, have much choice about some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., external regulation).