Ca: Privacy Commissioner Secures Abandoned Medical Records at RSRS; Rural Doctor's Lack of Proper Care is Met With Swift Response to Protect Patients

A somewhat self-serving, but still relevant, press release from RSRS:

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian, has once again asserted her commitment to the protection and security of confidential medical information after hundreds of personal medical records were discovered scattered amongst debris in an abandoned rural property in the town of Newcastle, Ontario.

The records belonging to the practice of a disciplined Newcastle doctor were pulled from the property by the Information and Privacy Office. They were then sent to Toronto-based RSRS – Record Storage & Retrieval Services which provided immediate secure storage for the records and facilitated authorized copies to requesting patients for continuity of care.

In a letter of gratitude to RSRS, Cavoukian writes: “I am writing to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to (RSRS) for assisting this office and the patients the records belong to, by providing a secure location for these records. The security of personal health information is paramount, especially in this era of changing information sharing technologies. I am committed to ensuring Ontarians’ medical records are protected against privacy breaches. ”

This is not the first breach of its kind in Ontario. While the move to electronic medical records provides additional security measures against breaches, most of Ontario’s doctors have still not completed the transition. Medical doctors in Ontario and across Canada have specific obligations with respect to the security and retention of both paper and electronic records. RSRS has stepped up their efforts to assist doctors with their obligations both during and practice closure.

“We really value our partnership with the Privacy Commissioner and respect her stand on the issue of medical record privacy”, said R. Elan Eisen, President of RSRS. “We believe it’s one of the most proactive privacy offices of any like it in the world. They’ve really raised the bar on privacy issues”.

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