Duties and responsibilities

Expectations of physicians in practice

Medical records

Deceased patients’ medical records: When can they be disclosed?
Considerations for physicians when responding to requests for deceased patients’ medical records.
Cybersecurity threats: Are you prepared?
How doctors can help protect their information technology systems from cybersecurity threats and what they should do in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
Patient portals—Considerations for safety and medico-legal risk
Actions physicians can take to mitigate potential risks of using patient portals to communicate clinical information with patents.
Why do you need to know? A balancing act for accessing personal health information
Physicians may face a privacy breach when viewing personal health information that is not required for current clinical care and without the patient’s or information custodian’s consent.
Writing with care
Documentation in clinical notes and reports to third parties should be factual, objective, and use a suitable tone of medical professionalism.
My patients, my records?
Practising physicians, particularly those at the beginning of their career, should ensure they have enduring access to medical records after leaving a practice for medical-legal purposes.
Closing or leaving a practice: Tips for primary care physicians
Responsibilities of physicians when planning to close or leave a practice due to retirement, illness, or other reasons.
Cannabis legalization in Canada, one year later: Questions from members
A review of CMPA member enquiries following the legalization of cannabis for recreational use reveals that the new regulatory regime has generally not had a significant medical-legal impact for our members.
Can border agents search your smartphone?
CMPA gives advice to physicians travelling across international borders and having border agents search mobile electronic devices, such as smartphones, that may contain confidential patient information.
Managing stress when transitioning to new electronic record systems
Strategies for managing the stress associated with transitioning to a new EMR system for managing patient records.
Reporting a privacy breach: What are your responsibilities?
Addressing privacy breaches has become more complex as the rules around notifying and reporting have recently changed or are about to change across the country.
Providing access to independent medical examinations
Individuals have a general right to access their personal information in independent medical examination files, but there are exceptions to what must be produced
Who has custody of medical records, and who can they be shared with?
Physicians can be better prepared to transfer patient health information when they understand who has custody of and access to medical records.
Did you know? You need authorization to provide medical records to lawyers
Physicians may release a patient’s medical records to lawyers only with patient authorization or where required by law.
Did you know? Patients can restrict access to their health information
Physicians should try to accommodate patients’ requests to limit access to their personal health information.
"Dictated but not read": Unreviewed clinical record entries may pose risks
The practice of marking transcribed reports or entries “dictated but not read” gives rise to medical-legal risks and can create uncertainty for those relying on that information in providing patient care.
Protecting patient health information in electronic records
An overview of information privacy considerations when using electronic medical records in practice.
Managing access to electronic health records
A discussion of the principles of access, the challenges with access, and managing the risks.
Releasing a patient’s personal health information: What are the obligations of the physician?
To respond appropriately to a request to release patient information, physicians must understand the legal rules surrounding the ownership and handling of the information.
Responding to requests for children's medical records
The physician's role in providing a child's medical information to a parent.
How to manage your medical records: Retention, access, security, storage, disposal, and transfer
An overview of the principles of retention, sharing and transferring of medical records.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.