Why do we ask for your consent?
The first consent form you sign as a participant in the Pure North program is a typical treatment consent for patients – this gives your permission to our health care professionals to treat you. Your health care data (including things like blood work, blood pressure and health history) is collected, stored and used by these health care professionals to help you reach your health goals.
At the time of joining/entering the Pure North program, participants are also requested to consider if they consent to the use and disclosure of their personal health information (“PHI”) for “research”. The type of research that Pure North does, however, is focused on quality improvement and program evaluation – in other words, working to make the health program advice and treatments more and more effective. Researchers only see data that is “anonymized” so that the researchers cannot actually identify you, or any other specific individuals in the program. This is called secondary use of data (research) because the data we collect from you is collected primarily for use in your treatment.
We request your consent because your PHI is private and confidential. Licensed professionals (such as the Pure North naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists and nurses) who obtain this information in the course of their professional relationship with you and the Pure North program participants are obliged to maintain proper “custody” and security of that data – they are responsible for keeping it private and confidential.
Pure North does not perform prospective research or clinical studies. Pure North delivers a preventive health program – but we are equally committed to improving the program based on our clients’ experiences.
Medical and other professionals, researchers and academics may use the data collected at Pure North to analyze the effectiveness of our services. Regular review of patient experiences and outcomes allows us to adapt and modify the program based on the best available information – your data.
As with all scientific and medical research, all of these researchers (including Pure North) must obtain research ethics approval for the use of your anonymized data. Ethics approval may be granted by one of the recognized and accredited universities in Canada or through the Health Research Ethics Board of Alberta under the auspices of Alberta Innovates.
The Consent Process
In the course of our ongoing program evaluation, we have retained the services of experts in the field of ethics to ensure that the processes we follow are the best, and provide you with the information you need to make informed choices. These professionals have helped us ensure that our consent and research protocols are compliant with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements and we continue to improve and adapt based on their advice – as another aspect of our commitment to further improving this process.
Please feel free to speak with and ask questions about your health care data with any of our health care professionals. We value your participation and input – and take your health seriously.