Releasing Personal Health Information

All regulated Health Professionals in Canada are legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of a patient’s personal health information.  Under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), personal health information may only be disclosed by health information custodians if the individual consents or if PHIPA specifically permits the disclosure without consent.

So when do you disclose information to a parent?  Say for example, a 13 year old wants to purchase Plan B or a smoking cessation aid.  Any person may consent to receive treatment, regardless of age, if he or she is able to understand the information about the treatment including possible risks and benefits.  Permission from a parent is nor required for a minor child if the pharmacist believes the patient understands the information provided and is able to give an informed consent. If there is a conflict between a parent and the capable child who is under 16, the decision of the child overrides that of the parent.

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