Records Found in Vacant Clinic Lead to Breach of HIA

August 18, 2010

An investigation into the discovery of medical files in office space vacated by a Red Deer Doctor serves as an important reminder to health care custodians to conduct a thorough inventory of medical files before vacating office space.

In January of this year, a property management firm contacted the OIPC to report that staff had discovered ten boxes of records in the former office space of the Highland Park Medical Centre rented by Dr. Anthony Ford. This was the second time medical records had been recovered from the same office space.

Investigator Brian Hamilton found that Dr. Ford had contravened the Health Information Act (HIA) by failing to conduct an inventory after moving offices to ensure no files had been left behind. Dr. Ford has since conducted an inventory, flagged all records that fell out of his custody and is prepared to answer questions from patients.

Hamilton reminded custodians of their duty under the HIA to implement reasonable controls to protect the privacy of health information, which includes keeping track of patient records when moving offices.