Nav: Home

Privacy safeguards in Canadian military insufficient: Updated rules needed

November 08, 2010

Privacy legislation and protocols to safeguard the health information of members of the military are lacking, and the head of Canada's military must take action to ensure health privacy for all staff, states an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CAMJ) http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/doi/10.1503/cmaj.101630.

Recent violations at Veterans Affairs Canada of privacy regarding sensitive health information raise questions about the military's ability to protect personal health information.

"Few of the world's armed forces provide complete confidentiality of personal health information," write CMAJ Editor-in-Chief Dr. Paul Hébert and colleagues.

This insecurity over privacy can have negative health impacts. Soldiers who have returned from military duty may hide symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and consequently may not receive treatment which could have negative consequences.

"The only protection afforded military personnel is a weak federal Privacy Act and a commissioner who reports breaches to Parliament," state the authors. "The Act does little to address the many nuanced privacy issues in dealing with sensitive health information, which explains why several provinces have developed their own privacy laws for health information."

The authors urge the head of Canada's military, General Walter Natynczyk, to ask the Federal Privacy Commissioner to conduct an independent review of military privacy protocols and develop clear recommendations for improvements. "Updated privacy rules should include, at the very least, a duty to offer explanations to a military patient if his or her personal information is to be disclosed to nonmedical personnel. Better yet would be a guarantee of privacy for mental health records...Most important, all policies, regardless of approach, must be subject to regular oversight and review by a professional civilian body," they conclude.
-end-


Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Health Information Articles:

Internet health information can reduce parents' trust in doctors' diagnoses
New research being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting suggests online health information can influence whether parents trust a diagnosis made by their child's doctor, potentially leading to delayed treatment.
Customers who receive genetic health data not alarmed by results, find information useful
As consumers have been able to learn more about their genetic makeup in recent years through personal genomic testing, one big criticism has been that without someone to interpret it, the health information could be harmful to the receivers.
Rural nursing homes are falling behind in health information technology
The 16,000 nursing homes in the United States serve populations of all sizes; yet, according to new research from the University of Missouri, rural communities are lagging in health information technology needed to improve quality, safety and efficiency in health care.
Health policy expert to study electronic sharing of health information in primary care
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded a grant to a health and policy management expert at the Richard M.
Regenstrief project assembles health information from different electronic medical records
Regenstrief Institute's Center for Biomedical Informatics is pilot-testing new, efficient method for compiling health-care information electronically.
More Health Information News and Health Information Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...