Consent to Use of Technology
Reference for Harrison Healthcare Clients:
Your physician and Harrison Healthcare Inc. (“Harrison”) offer you (the “Patient”) the following means of electronic communication and virtual care (collectively, the “Technology” or “Technologies”) to facilitate the delivery of healthcare services (the “Services”):
- Video Calling
- Text Messaging (including instant messaging)
- Client Portal (access to scheduling and aspects of client medical file)
- Internet-Based Personal Health Record
PATIENT ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND AGREEMENT
The Patient acknowledges that they have read and fully understand the risks, limitations, conditions of use, and instructions for use of the Technology as described below when interacting with their physician, Associates and Harrison staff (collectively, the “Staff”). For the purpose of this consent, an Associate is defined as another physician or professional staff member, including trainees, that the Patient has given consent to for care.
The Patient consents to the conditions below and will follow the instructions as outlined, as well as any other conditions that may be introduced in relation to patients using the Technology. This “Consent to Use of Technology” document may be updated from time to time and changes will be appropriately communicated to the Patient.
The Patient acknowledges and understands that despite recommendations that encryption software be used as a security mechanism for the Technology, it is possible that interacting with the Staff using the Technology may not be encrypted. Despite this, the Patient agrees to interact with their physician, Associates or other Staff using the Technology with a full understanding of the risk.
The Patient acknowledges that either they, their physician or other Staff member may, at any time, withdraw the option of using any of the Technology listed above upon providing written notice. The Patient acknowledges that they have been given the opportunity to ask questions about this consent.
Risks of using the Technology
The Staff will use reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of information sent and received using the Technology. However, because of the risks outlined below, the Staff cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of any or all Technology tools:
- Use of the Technology to discuss sensitive information can increase the risk of such information being intercepted by third parties.
- Despite reasonable efforts to protect the privacy and security of information communicated through the Technology, it is not possible to completely secure the information.
- Employers and online services may have a legal right to inspect and keep electronic communications that pass through their systems.
- The Technology can introduce malware into a computer system, and potentially damage or disrupt the computer, networks, and security settings.
- Communications through Technology can be forwarded, intercepted, circulated, stored, or even changed without the knowledge or permission of the Staff or the Patient.
- Even after the sender and recipient have deleted copies of electronic communications, back-up copies may exist on a computer system.
- Communications through Technology may be disclosed in accordance with a duty to report or a court order.
- Some videoconferencing platforms may be more open to interception than other forms of videoconferencing.
If email or text is used, the following are additional risks:
- Email, text messages, and instant messages can more easily be misdirected, resulting in increased risk of being received by unintended and unknown recipients.
- Email, text messages, and instant messages can be easier to falsify than handwritten or signed hard copies. It is not feasible to verify the true identity of the sender, or to ensure that only the recipient can read the message once it has been sent.
Conditions of using the Technology
- While the Staff will attempt to review and respond in a timely fashion to electronic communications such as emails, text messages, and instant messages, the Staff cannot guarantee that all electronic communications will be reviewed and responded to within any specific period of time. The Technologies will not be used for medical emergencies or other time-sensitive matters.
- If your electronic communication requires or invites a response from the Staff and you have not received a response within a reasonable time period, it is your responsibility to follow up to determine whether the intended recipient received the electronic communication and when the recipient will respond. You are responsible for following up on the Staff’s electronic communication and for scheduling appointments where warranted.
- Video calling may not be an appropriate substitute for in-person clinical examinations or for attending the Emergency Department when needed.
- Electronic communications or recordings of video encounters concerning diagnosis or treatment may be printed or transcribed in full and made part of your medical record. Other individuals authorized to access the medical record, such as administrative staff and billing personnel, may have access to those communications and recordings.
- The Staff may forward electronic communications or recordings to others involved in the delivery and administration of your care. The Staff might use one or more of the Technologies to communicate with those involved in your care. The Staff will not forward electronic communications or recordings to third parties, including family members, without your prior written consent, except as authorized or required by law.
- The Patient has the right to specifically notify the Staff to not use one of more of the Technologies to communicate sensitive medical information about matters such as sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS/HIV, mental health, developmental disabilities, substance abuse or any other matter. Such notifications will be made in writing.
- Some Technologies might not be used for therapeutic purposes or to communicate clinical information. Where applicable, the use of these Technologies will be limited to education, information, and administrative purposes.
- The Staff is not responsible for information loss due to technical failures associated with a Patient’s software or internet service provider.
Instructions for using the Technologies
To use the Technologies, the Patient must:
- Ensure the Staff is aware when they receive an electronic communication, such as by a reply message or allowing “read receipts” to be sent.
- Take precautions to preserve the confidentiality of electronic communications, such as using screen savers and safeguarding computer passwords.
- Withdraw consent only by email or written communication to the Staff.
- Not rely on any particular Technology when immediate assistance is required or if a condition worsens. In this case the Patient should call the Staff’s office or take other measures as appropriate, such as going to the nearest Emergency Department or urgent care clinic.
- Reasonably limit or avoid using an employer’s or other third party’s computer.
- Conduct virtual care encounters in a private setting and using a secure device, where possible.
- Obtain the Staff’s consent prior to making any recording of the video based care encounter.
- Inform the Staff of any changes to their email address, mobile phone number, or other account information necessary to communicate via the Technologies.
If the Technologies used include email, instant messaging and/or text messaging, the Patient must:
- Include in the message’s subject line an appropriate description of the nature of the communication (e.g. “prescription renewal”) and full name in the body of the message.
- Review all electronic communications to ensure they are clear and that all relevant information is provided before sending to the Staff.
By accepting the Services from your physician or any other member of the Staff you are providing consent to use the Technologies as described herein.