News Updates

May 06, 2019

Minimize the Risk of Abandoned Health Records with Succession Planning

Minimize the Risk of Abandoned Health Records 

Abandonment of health records continues to be a problem in Ontario, resulting in serious implications for the privacy of individuals and the security of their health information.

As part of a strategy to help prevent abandoned records, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) has developed a new fact sheet—Succession Planning to Help Prevent Abandoned Records.

The fact sheet outlines the importance of succession planning in the event that a Health Information Custodian (HIC) retires, relocates or otherwise becomes incapacitated. 

The IPC recommends custodians implement the following best practices to prevent abandoned records:

  • Create a succession plan that clearly identifies a successor and sets out their responsibilities, and those of any agents (such as a record storage company) who will assist with the retention, transfer or disposal of health records

  • Ensure the plan identifies a person who will be responsible during the transfer of records for:
    • maintaining the security of records
    • responding to patients’ access requests
    • making agreements with agents (such as a record storage company) setting out their duties concerning the records
    • notifying patients of the transfer
  • Review and update the plan on a regular basis and when there is a change in circumstances that could affect the transfer of those records to a successor
Read the Fact Sheet

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