Accounting for Law

Health privacy update – August 2017

By Kate Dewhirst

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has just released two new correction request decisions – 46 and 47 (dated June 2017 but released the last week of July). Decision 45 has not yet been released.

Bottom line: These decisions do not change your practice. So long as you respond to correction requests (as you are required to do), these changes confirm that custodians are permitted to deny a correction request if a complainant is unable to prove records are inaccurate or incomplete for the purpose for which you hold the records.

Decision 46: A physician received a correction request to change two entries in clinical notes. The physician made some changes but denied the other correction requests. Physician felt the requested changes reflected a disagreement about the use of pronouns and syntax. Physician felt the additional requests were frivolous or vexatious or that the complainant had not established that the records were incomplete or inaccurate.

The physician’s decision not to correct the record was upheld. IPC discussed the meaning of “frivolous” and “vexatious.” IPC found that the request was not frivolous or vexatious (burden on custodian to prove). But concluded that the complainant had not proven that the records were incomplete or inaccurate.

Decision 47: A hospital received a correction request to change references in two consultation reports to specific diagnoses and medication compliance because they were “no longer true.” Complainant acknowledged they had been true at the time the diagnoses and notes of medication compliance were recorded. The hospital denied the correction request.

IPC concluded that a review was not warranted. The complainant did not establish that the records were incomplete or inaccurate.

Free summary: Want to read a summary of all 47 orders and decisions of the IPC? Here is a free summary: IPC PHIPA Orders and Decisions

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