Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a health record?

    A health record is comprised of:

    • Personal information:
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Gender
    • Address
    • Extended health insurance numbers
    • Personal health information:
    • Health Card Number
    • Information relating to previous health problems
    • Diagnosis
    • Record of your visits to the hospital and what health care we provide to you during those visits

    Where is my health record stored?

    This information can be accumulated and stored in several mediums and in several areas, including:

    • in a hard copy hospital chart housed in Health Records Department
    • an electronic patient record
    • documents created and stored in patient care areas and private office
    • diagnostic images and reportlab specimens and reports
    • photographs
    • videos

    How do I access a Health Record?

    Collection, use, access and/or disclosure of personal health information is governed by Ontario law (Personal Health Information Protection Act 2004).

    Accessing your own health record - You have a right, by law, to access your own hospital health record either by viewing or requesting a copy. Accessing your health record may occur in the following ways:

    • Requesting a copy of your own health record: You can obtain a copy of your own hospital health record by submitting a written request to Health Record Services.
    • 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 Records 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. The Decision maker may be one of the following:

    • 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 to collection, use and/or disclosure of their personal health information.

    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 in addition to a written request to the Health Record Department. 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.

    Obtaining a copy of your health record for a third party

    You can request that a copy of your hospital health record be released to a lawyer, insurance company, or any other third party specified by you, by completing a written request to Health Record Services.

    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.

    Written Requests

    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. Health Record services at one hospital cannot release the health records from another hospital; for example, STEGH cannot accept a request to release/copy health records from London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

    Please complete the Authorization for Release of Patient Information form. This form can be printed from our web site or picked up from the Health Records 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 form can be mailed, or dropped off in person at the Health Records Department. To expedite your request, the form may be faxed to the fax numbers on the Contact Information page, however the original must be mailed or dropped off to the site where you were treated. For your protection, copies may not be released without the original, signed form accompanied by appropriate identification.

    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.


    There is an administrative fee 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. For more information about these fees, contact the Health Records Department.

    Retention of Your Health Record

    The law requires Health Care Facilities to retain a Health Record for a specified period of time. St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital oversees the secure storage and management of your hospital health record according to these laws and hospital bylaws. Health Records that are older than 10 years may no longer be available.