Volume 12 | No. 1 | Jan / Feb 2024 query_builder 1 minute

Medical records management: obtaining patient consent to transfer records

Practice standard

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The College has recently received questions from registrants regarding the requirement for patient consent prior to transferring a medical record. The College’s Medical Records Management practice standard clarifies expectations.

As per the practice standard, registrants may transfer original medical records to another registrant, bonded record retention facility, public hospital, or health authority within Canada if the receiving registrant, bonded record retention facility, public hospital, or health authority has agreed to hold the medical records and provide enduring access to the transferring registrant and the patients. Transfer of the original medical record must be documented in a written contract that includes the elements outlined in the practice standard. Patient consent is not required; however, registrants must take steps to notify patients of the location of their medical record.

Circumstances may arise where registrants are retaining their medical records but physically moving them to a new practice location. When a practice relocation occurs within the same or neighbouring vicinity, registrants do not need to obtain consent from their patients to move their medical record as this is implied.

Registrants are expected to notify their patients that their records are being moved and provide them with the option to remain in the practice. The College does not set out a time frame to wait for a response before transferring patient records and would leave this to a registrant’s best judgement based on their unique circumstances. 

Questions regarding this article can be directed to communications@cpsbc.ca.