PHRPC Purpose & Authority

Purpose

The Provincial Health Research Privacy Committee reviews requests for access to personal health information for research purposes to determine whether the importance of the research outweighs the intrusion into privacy and whether adequate safeguards are in place to protect the confidentiality of the information. Individuals have the right of protection against unauthorized use, disclosure, or destruction of personal health information by trustees. Authorized use by a health researcher requires that this Committee has determined that the researcher has met all conditions required to be given approval. (PHIA sec 2(d), 24(1), 24(3))

Authority

Sec. 22(2): A trustee may disclose personal health information without the consent of the individual if the disclosure is (f) in accordance with section 23 (disclosure to patient's family), 24 (disclosure for health research) or 25 (disclosure to an information manager).

Sec. 24(1): A trustee may disclose personal health information to a person conducting a health research project only if the project has been approved under this section.

Sec. 24(2): An approval may be given by the committee established under section 59.

Sec. 59(1): The minister must establish a committee in accordance with the regulations for the purpose of approving health research projects under section 24.

The committee shall:

(a)   Review all requests from researchers to obtain and use personal health information maintained by any government department or government agency in order to determine that:

  • the research has to be important enough to outweigh any invasion of privacy involved (sec. 24(3) (a)); the research cannot be done without using identifiable personal health care information (sec. 24(3)(b));

  • it is impossible or impractical to get consent from the people the personal health information is about (sec. 24(3)(c));

  • the project ensures the security of the personal health information and its destruction when finished (sec. 24(3)(d)); and

  • the information is the minimum necessary to accomplish the purpose (sec. 20(2)).


(b)   Ensure that required agreements are in place between the researcher and the Trustee.

(c)    Ensure that the disclosure of personal health information does not occur without the consent of the individual, in situations where the research requires direct contact with individuals, with the exception of names and addresses. (sec. 24(5))

(d)    Ensure that each request for approval of a health research project under section 24 includes the required information.

(e)     After making a decision to grant or refuse to grant an approval, the committee shall advise the research applicant in writing of its decision.

(f)    The committee shall provide the Minister with an annual report of its activities.