If you are an employee, be sure to confirm with your organization their policies and practices related to medical records management.
Respecting patient records, subsection 13(2)(b) of the Standards Regulation establishes that when a member intends to close their medical practice, take a leave of absence, relocate, or otherwise cease practice, they must notify patients, or their legal representatives, “about where patient records are to be located, and how the records can be transferred to another member or how copies can be obtained”.
Review the Standard of Practice for Maintenance of Patient Records to ensure compliance.
You can also consult CMPA for advice and guidance.
In Manitoba, medical records must be retained for a minimum period of 10 years, from either the date of the last entry, or from the age of majority (18 years), whichever is later.
The safest and least expensive way to maintain patient records decades into the future is using digitally encrypted copies.
When selecting your storage company some important considerations include:
Is the organization bonded?
- Do they offer conversion services of paper charts to digital?
- Ability to store/convert all aspects of medical records including where appropriate, radiology films, fetal monitoring strips, and other test results.
- Scheduled destruction of charts in a manner that is acceptable to the CPSM, including a record of each patient’s chart destruction by date (ie. Certificate of Chart Destruction).
- Are chart destruction records kept confirming the record has been destroyed and not simply lost or misplaced?
- What are the monthly or annual fee options?
- Are there options for patients or their guardians to access charts including costs for reviewing and/or obtaining copies?
- Can transfer of existing charts to a new physician?
- Does the company meet all the CPSM requirements (insert link to CPSM requirements)?
Some companies include:
CMPA advises it is better to always retain the original chart and only provide patients with a copy of their health records upon request.