Health Records (Health Information Management)
Respecting & Maintaining Confidentiality
Our Health Information Management (HIM) Department oversees the collection, storage, retention and access to hospital health record charts. We respect and maintain the confidentiality of every patient's personal health information. Release of Information staff within Health Records manages inquiries and requests for copies of hospital health record charts.
Inquiries and requests are important to us. Every effort is made to process requests in a timely manner; however, in accordance with the "Personal Health Information Protection Act" St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital has up to 30 days to process a request once the request process is complete.
What is a Health Record?
A health record is a confidential compilation of pertinent facts about an individual's health history, including all past and present medical conditions, illnesses and treatments, with emphasis on the specific events affecting the patient during the current episode of care. The information documented in the health record is created by all health care professionals providing care and is used for continuity of care. (Canadian Health Information Management Association)
A health record is comprised of:
- Personal information (e.g. name, date of birth, gender, address, and extended health insurance numbers)
- Personal health information (e.g. Health Card Number, information relating to previous health problems, diagnosis, the record of your visits to the hospital and what health care we provide to you during those visits)
Accessing a Health Record
Collection, storage, retention, access and/or disclosure of personal health information is governed by Ontario law (Personal Health Information Protection Act 2004). You have a right, by law, to access your own hospital health record either by viewing or requesting a copy. The Health Information Management department oversees the secure storage and management of your hospital health record.
Requesting a copy of your own health record
For your protection, a copy of a health record will not be released to third parties without your written authorization. Health information cannot be released over the telephone. Please click on the blue bar below to complete the Consent for Access or Disclosure of Personal Information and/or Personal Health Information. This form can also be picked up from the HIM department. To avoid delay, please make sure that all information is completed on the form, ensuring that it is dated and signed by you.
This authorization is valid for 6 months and pertains to the release of information that is specific to treatment received on or before the date signed.
Due to COVID-19, we are only accepting requests for information by mail or e-mail. We are currently not accepting in-person requests for information. Please contact our office if you have any questions.
Once this form is complete, it can be mailed or dropped off in person to the HIM department, along with Government-issued photo identification.
Once we have received your request, a member of the HIM team will call you to validate your information and process credit card payment. Alternate payment methods will be considered by request.
There is an administrative fee of $33.90 ($30.00 + HST) associated with a request to view and/or obtain a photocopy of your health record. The fee for copying varies with the size of the record. Pre-payment of this fee is required prior to accessing your health record. Please note: the administrative fee of $33.90 includes 20 pages, for any pages over 20 you will be charged an additional 0.25 (+HST) per page. We accept cash, check or money order through the Finance Department. If paying by check or money order please ensure it is made out to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (c/o ROI) and include the Request #. Click here to submit an online credit card payment. Your invoice # is the Request #.
Viewing your health record
A person can review their own health record at the health care facility where they were treated, by submitting a written request to the Health Information Management department.
Obtaining a copy of your health record or the health record of another individual
Consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal health information is obtained from the patient, regardless of age, if the patient is capable of understanding the information presented to them and the impact of consenting or declining. If the patient is not capable, consent is obtained from the Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) who may be:
- The individual's (patient's) guardian of the person or guardian of property
- The individual's attorney for personal care or attorney for property
- The individual's representative appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board
- The individual's spouse or partner
- A child or parent of the individual
- A parent of the individual with only a right of access
- A brother or sister; or
- Any other relative.
In the case of a conflict, the capable patient's decision prevails with respect to consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of their personal health information.
To obtain a birth certificate, contact Service Ontario at 1 800 461 2156 or through the Service Ontario website.
Obtaining a copy of the health record of a deceased individual
If you are requesting a copy of the hospital record of a patient that is deceased, you must submit proof of your legal signing authority as well as a written request, to the Health Information Management department. The hospital does not issue/copy death certificates. You must provide either:
- a copy of the deceased person's Will naming you as the Executor or,
- in the absence of a Will, a letter notarized by a lawyer to confirm your legal signing authority.
To release personal health information of a deceased patient, consent is required from the executor of the estate (with proof, copy of first page where it names the executor and last page where the patient/deceased signed the Will). If no Will exists, a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is required.
Obtaining a copy of your health record for a third party
If you require a copy of your hospital health record to be released to a lawyer, insurance company, or any other third party please have the requesting party send their request and completed authorization form to the Health Information Management Department.
Obtaining a copy of the health record for other health care providers
When requested, copies of your health record may be released to health care providers outside the hospital to ensure the best continuing care for you. Your attending physician at the hospital may also share reports or summaries of your treatment at the hospital with other physicians and health care providers involved in your care to ensure they are aware of treatments or medications that may affect your ongoing care.
Healthcare providers can fax their request on letterhead to the Health Information department.
For any urgent circle of care requests (urgent requests required for patient care by other healthcare facilities) during non-business hours (weekly 4 pm-7am and Weekends and Stat holidays) please contact Clinical Connect or Connecting Ontario, Toll free: 1-866-250-1554, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Weekends & Holidays - Closed
The Health Information Management department is located in the Main Building of the hospital on the first floor.