Privacy and confidentiality

Is virtual care safe and private?  

Your privacy is very important to us. Like any in-person visit, we do our best to make sure any information you give to us during a virtual care appointment is private and secure. 

Electronic communication, including virtual care appointments and email, may have an increased risk that your health information is intercepted by third parties through malware, phishing scams or other unauthorized access. 

The video conferencing platforms that LHSC uses are used by many hospitals in Ontario and Canada. These platforms have been reviewed by our Privacy and Information Security, and we’re taking appropriate precautions to help ensure your information is as safe and secure as possible. 

Personal health information discussed during the virtual care appointment is not stored or kept by OTN or Webex Meetings. Calls and video are not recorded or kept by OTN or Webex Meetings after your appointment finishes. 

LHSC is not responsible for the security of patients’ internet service providers, email domains, personal devices or personal computer. 

To help us keep your information secure, we ask you do the following: 

  • Use your personal smartphone. 
  • Use a secure internet connection at home. Do not use an internet connection in a public area, such as an airport, store, restaurant or library. 
  • Use your personal email address; not a work email address. 

Some care areas may send you a follow-up survey by email after your appointment. This is help us improve the quality of care we deliver. If you receive an email and survey link and aren’t sure if it’s coming from your health-care team at St. Joseph’s, call your provider to confirm before clicking on any links. 

By agreeing to participate in a virtual appointment, you’re agreeing to let your health-care provider collect, use or disclose your personal health information through audio or video communications to provide you with care. Electronic (or virtual) communication may include email, videoconferencing (OTN, Webex Meetings), text messaging or a website. 

Protecting your privacy 

Your privacy is very important to LHSC. We protect your privacy during virtual care appointments in the same way we do during an in-person visit. Only the people providing care to you will be present during your appointment. The discussion during the virtual appointment is documented in your health record, just like an in-person appointment would be. 

We suggest you take similar steps to protect your own privacy. This means being aware of your surroundings and who may be able to overhear your virtual appointment. 

If you have any questions about your privacy, contact LHSC’s Privacy Office at 519-685-8500 extension 32996 or email Privacy@lhsc.on.ca