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Who owns the medical record?

Concerned-looking middle age femaleIn 1993 the Supreme Court of Canada made it clear that the information in the medical record belongs to the patient. However, the physical record belongs to the person or organization responsible for its creation, that is, the hospital or a physician in private practice.

What this means:
  • Patients have a right to see the content of their record at any time and for any reason, subject to certain exceptions (e.g. if there is likelihood of harm to the patient).
  • Any inappropriate notations can be embarrassing to, or even grounds for litigation against, the writer.

The owner of the physical record is responsible for controlling access by others in accordance with privacy law.

Learn more about McInerney v. MacDonald — a landmark Canadian legal case
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