Are You a Patient?

You likely arrived on this page because you interacted with Ocean through a trusted healthcare provider and you are wondering how it impacts your personal health information (PHI). Whether it was a tablet in the waiting room, a secure message via email, or an alert from the Ocean eReferral Network, we have you covered with end-to-end encryption to make sure your PHI stays personal.

As a patient, here are the things you may want to know:

Who and what is Ocean by CognisantMD?
What is end-to-end encryption and how does it keep my PHI kept safe?
Why did I receive an email from Ocean?
Why are you asking for my birth date (or other personal information?)
How can I be sure this message is from Ocean or my healthcare provider?
Who and what is Ocean by CognisantMD?

CognisantMD is a software company based in Toronto, Ontario. Our Ocean software is used across Canada by over 3000 healthcare providers to connect with over 10,000 patients daily. The Ocean Platform is used by numerous Public Health organizations, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and leading teaching hospitals. When you interact with Ocean, for example on a tablet in the waiting room or through a secure email, your responses are encrypted from end-to-end, then transmitted directly into your patient record at the health care provider’s office. This eliminates the manual process of printing out forms, completing them on paper, and transcribing the responses while giving you an easier way to contribute to your own record.

What is end-to-end encryption and how does it keep my PHI kept safe?

The team at Ocean is fully committed to protecting your PHI because we understand how important privacy is to you (after all, we’re sometimes patients ourselves). By using end-to-end encryption that is compliant with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, no one else (not even us!) except for the intended recipients can see the information. Ocean does not see or store your PHI; we’re just securely moving it from you to your doctor.

Think of it this way: You and your healthcare provider have a unique set of keys that can’t be duplicated. When you complete a form in an email or check-in on a kiosk, your information gets put in a box and locked away before it is sent off. Ocean delivers the box to your health care provider where it can only be opened by their keys.

Why did I receive an email from Ocean?

If your healthcare provider wants to use Ocean to communicate with you, they will need to collect your email address and obtain email consent before sending any messages. If you provide email consent, you may receive an email from Ocean at CognisantMD on behalf of your healthcare provider for the following reasons:

  • To confirm and remind you of an upcoming appointment
  • To ask you to complete forms before or after an appointment
  • To share test results or other information regarding your health
  • To provide information about a secure electronic referral (eReferral) for specialist services

If you believe you should not be receiving these types of emails, please contact your healthcare provider directly.

Why are you asking for my birth date (or other personal information?)

Traditional email communication comes with a lot of privacy risks – emails and their contents can easily be forwarded without your knowledge, messages may be sent to the wrong address, and more. To combat some of these risks, we ask you to confirm your identity through a quick validation process to make sure you are the correct and intended recipient. By default, we will always ask for a birth date because it is an easy piece of information for you to remember. We then use that birth date to check against your patient record to ensure there is a match. Only then will you be able to see the contents of the message.

In some cases, your health care provider might ask for additional information. This can include your health number, your patient record #, or a pre-determined access word that you and your provider agreed upon. Just to be clear, Ocean does not collect or use your birth date or other PHI when we run the validation checks.

How can I be sure this message is from Ocean or my healthcare provider?

Depending on your healthcare provider’s settings, messages may be delivered from their clinic email address or “no-reply@cognisantmd.com.” The contents of the message can vary from provider to provider, but for the most part they will look the same. Please take a look at some examples below.

As an additional security measure after you click on the link, look for a “lock” symbol in your web address bar. This means the site is safe and there is a private connection. These security settings can vary depending on the browser you use so it’s always a good idea to understand how your browser identifies safe and unsafe websites.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the contents of your message, please contact your healthcare provider directly.

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