Congratulations! You are an optician that has passionately served many patients in your community over the course of your career and getting ready to retire this year. As you think about retiring from practice, you are wondering what to do with your patient records. You are aware that the College’s Standards of Practice require patient records to be kept for a minimum of 3 years, and it is recommended to keep them for 10 years as other health care professionals do. You realize that you can’t simply shred patient records because patients may need access to their records after your retire. What should you do?
Do you work alone? With other opticians, an optometrist, or an ophthalmologist?
If you work with others, it would be beneficial to leave your records at the practice so that the other eyecare professionals you practice with can take over your patient files. In addition, this can allow your patients to continue accessing care and their records from the same practice location.
If you work alone, you must make arrangements for the transfer or safe storage of your records so they can be accessed as necessary when patients are requesting their records.
Regardless of whether or not you work with others at your practice, or you work alone, when you retire you should do the following:
1) Inform your patients when you are retiring and what will happen to their records
2) Inform the College when and where your records are being moved by submitting this form.
Be sure to keep a paper trail for your own records of when the records were moved or transferred to the possession of someone else. Ensure that your record of the transfer includes: when the records were transferred, to whom they were transferred, and the dates of transfer and receipt of the records.
Patients have the right to the contents in their record created by you. It is important for the College to know the location of patient records in case a patient calls the College seeking information to find their records (eg: when a practice that has closed, or an optician who has moved locations or retired).