Professional Standards Regarding the Management of Medical Records: Frequently Asked Questions
A medical record acts as a tool for every patient encounter with a health care professional. It is an account of a patient’s medical history, care or treatments received, test results, diagnoses, and medications prescribed that may help determine the health care received by the patient.
Who is responsible for the management and storage of my medical records?
The College does not store or maintain patient medical records.
A physician, a regulated health professional, a health authority or a licensed continuing care facility can be considered the custodian, or owner of your medical record. The custodian is responsible for the management and storage of patient medical records.
Physicians must make appropriate arrangements for the safe storage of medical records, which may include the transfer of records to another physician, clinic or secure record storage company.
The use of a secure record storage company is an appropriate and acceptable method for physicians to use to ensure patients can access their medical records. There are associated fees for patients to access their records through these facilities.
If you do not know how to locate your medical records, please leave a message for our Public Support Advisor at 902-421-2201.
How long are medical records kept?
A physician is obligated, via the College’s Professional Standards Regarding the Management of Medical Records, to maintain records in the case of minors, for at least ten (10) years from the time the patient reaches the age of majority, which is 19 in Nova Scotia, or the completion of any known proceedings where the records may be relevant, whichever is later.
In the case of patients who are not minors, physicians must retain medical records for at least ten (10) years from either the date of the last entry or the completion of any known proceedings where the records may be relevant, whichever is later.
How do I transfer my medical records?
A physician will not automatically transfer your records to a different physician without your consent. Please contact your physician if you want your medical records transferred.
The Nova Scotia Personal Health Information Act states that no fees should be charged to a patient for a physician to physician transfer of medical records.
How do I access bloodwork or imaging records?
If you have a family medicine specialist, any bloodwork or imaging results should be held in their medical record.
If you don’t have a family medicine specialist and had bloodwork or imaging ordered from a walk-in clinic or emergency department physician, you can contact the facility where the procedure was performed.
If you are seeking records of bloodwork or imaging tests that were completed with the IWK or a Nova Scotia Health facility, you may contact NSH Health Records at 902-473-5512. Alternatively, you may contact the facility where the procedure was performed and their Health Records Department can guide you on how to access these results.