Consent to the Use of Cloud-based Services
In order to provide a higher level of service to our patients this practice is using ‘cloud-based tools’ to collect information on patients. The intent is to collect more consistent data before appointments so that more time can be spent in discussing your specific goals of treatment with the surgeon. It is important that you understand how these tools operate in order to provide your consent to their use.
What are cloud-based internet services?
Cloud-based services are tools accessed over the internet to allow collection and presentation of data. Web-based email is one example of such a service. Surveymonkey and other online satisfaction surveys are other examples. Many of these services use servers (data storage and computing centres) housed outside of Canada.
The privacy of your health data and your personal information is important to us. Our practice focuses on keeping your data private unless sharing is necessary to help with your medical treatment. In addition, any technology we use to improve your healthcare experience is chosen because the balance of data security and health benefit is in your favour. We have personally reviewed the privacy policies of all the service providers we use and they provide the level of security you would expect for medical information and often exceed the level of security that our office can provide.
Below is a transparent list of the tools we are currently using for you to review. We would also be happy to provide a list of these tools in printed form should you wish to have it for your reference.
Practice Solutions Suite Electronic Medical Record (EMR): We are a paperless office including the use of an Electronic Medical Record. We have chosen to partner with Telus Health and use Practice Solutions Suite (PSS) to record patient information. This service is a cloud-based EMR with servers in Canada. Practice Solutions is endorsed by OntarioMD and the Ontario Medical Association and meets Canadian data privacy standards. Practice Solutions allows contact with patients using email, so if you are willing to receive appointment reminders then please supply your email.
Google Email Services: Our practice email is supported by G-Suite (https://www.google.com/work/) which is a HIPAA-compliant email service. This means that administrative controls allow higher security settings than a free Gmail account. Any health information you send to this account will be stored in servers in the United States and other countries (Google server locations https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/index.html).
Google Forms: In order to collect information on our patients before clinic appointments we have created an intake form which can be filled out online. This service allows the collection of data important to your health, but less relevant to the discussion of your specific orthopaedic issue. This was created using Google Forms which creates a record within the MDcommons Google for Work secure environment. Entered data is stored in servers outside of Canada. The service is HIPAA-compliant meaning that administrative controls protect privacy of health data.
Surgical Outcomes System: For patients who have interventions (injections and surgery) our practice uses an outcomes monitoring system called SOS (Surgical Outcomes System – https://surgicaloutcomesystem.com). Through this system the pre- and post-treatment pain and functional limitation of patients can be followed. This allows us to improve the quality of care of our patients and provides a more in-depth look at the way patients recover from surgery. The program is created by Arthrex, Inc., a U.S.-based company and data entered into the system is stored in servers based in the United States. No identifying information is recorded in the system. The company does analyze de-identified, aggregated data of large groups of patients. A separate consent form will be provided if you decide to participate in our outcomes monitoring system.
All use of cloud-based tools in this practice are optional. Your care will be the same should your decide not to use these tools, but your customer experience may be different. If you decide to withdraw your consent to the use of cloud-based tools no questions will be asked. Please let us know if you would be willing to use the suite of cloud-based tools that we have assembled for you.