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When Doctors Pass Away, What Happens to Patient Health Records?

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—CANADA

March 8, 2010

Saskatchewan Privacy Commissioner Gary Dickson believes more needs to be done to protect sensitive, personal health information left behind when doctors retire or pass away, the Canadian Press reports. At issue, he says, is the lack of appropriate arrangements to ensure such records are either turned over to another medical professional or secured in an appropriate archive. Currently, those records could end up anywhere from a spouse's basement to an empty office. Acknowledging that some believe electronic health records will be the best solution, Dickson points out that the move to digitization will take time, adding, "If we do a crummy job protecting the privacy of patients now with paper records, is that not going to impair trust when it comes to electronic records?"
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