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Reminder: protect patient privacy through masking information in Alberta Netcare

April 20, 2016

ACP recently received information from Alberta Health indicating that some pharmacists (who are custodians under the HIA) may not be fully aware of their responsibilities about patient requests for Global Person Level Masking. 

The Health Information Act (HIA) requires that Alberta Netcare users, including pharmacists, must consider requests from Albertans wanting to limit their health information available on Alberta Netcare. If you are asked to mask an individual’s health information in Netcare, you can do so by applying for Global Person Level Masking (GPLM) with the individual requesting your help. Masking information within an individual’s health record, excludes demographic information (e.g., first and last name, date of birth, gender and personal health number). 

How does Global Person Level Masking work?

Once applied to an individual’s record, GPLM makes accessing patient health information through Alberta Netcare a two-step process. The Alberta Netcare user must select the reason for the unmasking before the health information can be viewed. Six reasons identified as being acceptable include:

  1. Patient consent
  2. Direct patient care/clinical need
  3. Medical emergency
  4. Public health follow-up
  5. For authorized release of patient information, and
  6. As required by law. 

Unmasking health information is logged within the system, and is subject to audit— a standard procedure with all activities on Alberta Netcare.

Complete the application form with the individual and submit the application on the individual’s behalf. A full set of guidelines and step-by-step instructions for completing the form are available on the Alberta Netcare Portal Login Page, under the heading of Administrative Forms:

You may also wish to refer to the Netcare bulletin: Protecting Patient Privacy through Masking Information in Alberta Netcare. This article can be found on the Netcare website at: