Virtual Platform Privacy

When Covid-19 was given pandemic status, therapists needed to pivot, and quickly. Like me, many therapists chose to go virtual—at least until this Covid-19 crisis passes.

After researching the available virtual platforms, I opted to go with OWL Practice. I chose OWL over other platforms because it meets and exceeds my standards of care.

Your privacy is important to me, and my privacy is important to me too.

According to my professional association (the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, BCACC) there are three privacy items that must be satisfied in a virtual clinical counselling platform. They are:

1) To be PIPA/PIPEDA (the Personal Information Protection Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) compliant. Please note that HIPPA is not a Canadian Act and does not apply in Canada.

OWL Practice software is in compliance with both PHIPA and PIPEDA/PIPA.

2) Offer end to end encryption.

OWL Practice software uses end to end bank level encryption.

3) Be Canadian-based or offer Canadian servers.

OWL Practice owns its Canadian-based servers.

If you want a bit more information, please read the following from OWL Practice:

Owl Practice is both PHIPA and PIPEDA/PIPA compliant. For private practitioners across Canada, PIPEDA is the act that, on the federal level, will be of the most importance to how they operate. As the federal privacy law for private-sector organizations, PIPEDA sets out the ground rules for how businesses must handle personal information in the course of commercial activity.

PHIPA Compliance refers to Owl’s compliance with privacy laws in Ontario. For the privacy and security of health information in British Columbia, private practitioners must follow PIPA. This is BC’s private sector privacy law, and has been deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA. PIPA sets the rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information and personal employee information by private sector organizations in British Columbia.

And finally, and from the OWL team again:

  • Canadian Data in Canadian Servers – As we were developing Owl, we consulted with many therapists, and we heard loud and clear that it was very important to them that their data reside on servers in Canada as a matter of PHIPA and College compliance. Our servers are located in Toronto and Montreal so you can be assured your client’s practice data is securely stored in Canada.
  • Data Storage on Servers – We use a combination of SQL and MongoDB databases to store all practice data in a secure fashion.
  • Customized Login Pages – Each Owl account has its own segregated database, accessible only from a customized, account-specific URL There is no way to login to an Owl account from the Owl marketing site, and these login pages are not searchable on Google, for security reasons.
  • Data Encryption – At Owl, we use bank-level encryption (SSL) to encrypt all data that moves between our secure and dedicated servers and the device and browser on which a clinician accesses their Owl Practice account.
  • Data Loss Protection – With Owl, your data is continuously backed up, both across Owl’s servers and in multiple locations (Montreal + Toronto), so you never need to worry about losing practice data.
  • Canadian Team – The entire Owl Practice team is located in Canada. We’re a Canadian company, for Canadian mental health practitioners, run by Canadians.

I hope that you found this informative. If you have any questions about your privacy should you decide to work with me, please reach out. I am only a phone call or an email away.