Documenting Quality of Care and Risk Management Activities
IPC decision 177 is a companion decision to IPC Decision 176. Both decisions centre around the shared records of two hospitals who provided care to a patient prior to his death by suicide. See the take-aways from Decision 166 here.
The patient’s father filed a complaint with the IPC after reviewing an audit of his son’s hospital records. The audit showed that the records had been accessed by hospital personnel for quality of care purposes, risk management and patient relations purposes, all of which are permitted under PHIPA.
The IPC dismissed the complaint, but encouraged the hospital to amend its policy to require all of its agents (regardless of whether they are care providers or otherwise) to document when records are accessed for quality assurance purposes.
Takeaways: Quality of care and risk management activities are permitted by PHIPA – providers should not shy away from these activities if they are appropriate in the circumstances. However, this is the first time that the IPC has encouraged documentation of these activities in the record. Although administratively more burdensome, this documentation will provide clarity during auditing and (fingers crossed) lead to fewer complaints and increased trust between patients and providers.