Ca: Health records held for fee after doctor quits

Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner and the province are investigating a Regina woman’s complaint that she’s being forced to pay to access her health records after they were shipped out of province when her doctor closed her medical practice.


A Docudavit spokesperson told CBC News that the doctor did the right thing by shipping the records away so they’d be secure.

“The value of that over having somebody’s patient records stored in a garage of a physician or the basement of a physician is huge … it’s a significant benefit to patients,” the spokesperson said.

But while the company insisted its practices are in line with Saskatchewan’s privacy laws, the provincial privacy commissioner isn’t so sure.

Gary Dickson said the company’s contracts to store records seem to allow it to digitize and remove identifying information from the files so it could be used in other ways.

But Dickson said there’s not enough information in the contract to say if that process goes far enough to truly protect a patient’s privacy rights.

“That has language that suggests the information can be de-identified without defining how or whether that would be true de-identification,” Dickson said.

“That raises all kinds of red flags, all kinds of concern,” he added.

But provincial health privacy officer Jackie Messer-Lepage said it’s ultimately up to the doctor to ensure they’re following all required laws. The responsibility is theirs, she said.

Read more on CBC NewsHat-tip, Sharon Polsky.

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