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New IPC health privacy decision #76 – reasonable search at a doctor’s office

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The IPC just released decision #76.

Bottom Line: There is no change to your duties as a health information custodian. This decision is entirely consistent with other decisions on the topic of reasonable search and a patient’s right of access to their records of personal health information. 

In this case, a patient requested access to her health record held by her doctor. The doctor kept paper records. The doctor found the patient’s record and copied it in its entirety.  The patient felt the record was incomplete and made an access complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

The patient alleged that her record was incomplete because there were missing pages and felt that the doctor should have additional records.

The physician explained that certain additional pages mentioned in the health record for certain documents would not have been included in the chart if they did not contain health information (such as cover pages to faxes or second or third pages of external documents that did not include any relevant information). The physician also checked her new electronic medical record to see if there was a record for the patient, although the patient had not received care from the doctor after the physician switched to the new system.

The IPC dismissed the complaint and concluded the physician had completed a reasonable search. The IPC did not require the physician to take any further action and confirmed that the physician had acted appropriately.


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Health Privacy Officer training
September 22, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September program is on privacy litigation and the October program will address harassment issues and scenarios.
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Free Part X CYFSA privacy webinar - ask me anything!
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Team Privacy Training Events
July 8, 23, 28 August 4, October 7, 8

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

Kate trains health professionals from many more health care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

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