Nova Scotia doctors are increasingly turning to out-of-province storage companies to handle their patients’ medical records.
The practice has become more common as doctors retire or close their practice for other reasons. As custodians of their patients’ files, Nova Scotia doctors must retain the original medical records even after their practice closes. For adult patients, the retention period is 10 years and for children, the period is 10 years after the patient turns 19.
“Often, doctors will choose to use a company like this because it allows them to place the responsibility of the files on a secure, outside entity instead of on their spouse, should the physician die before the 10 years has elapsed,” said Janice Hudson, spokeswoman for Doctors Nova Scotia, in an email.
“During the storage period, the files must be accessible upon request.”
That access can come at a cost to patients, sometimes in the hundreds of dollars. A woman who recently emailed The Chronicle Herald said she was billed $258.77 to get her medical record and her son’s file.
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