Case study: You are a contact lens fitter who owns a successful practice within a small sub-urban community. There is an optometrist, Dr. Dee, who provides eye exams at your practice. You have very good professional relations with the optometrist. The optometrist bills patients for the services she provides from your practice.
Due to a family situation, Dr. Dee is moving her practice to another location. You hired a new optometrist to continue providing eye exams at your dispensary. The majority of Dr. Dee’s patients are also your patients since you have fitted them with contact lenses or dispensed their eyewear.
1. Who are Dr. Dee’s patients? Are her patients also your patients?
2. What happens to the patient records? Can Dr. Dee just leave all her patient records at your dispensary as she knows that these patients will still be coming to your dispensary?
3. What can patients do to access/transfer their own records?
1. Dr. Dee’s patients are those who have received eye examination or any other services provided by her. Your patients are those you have fitted contact lenses with or have dispensed eyewear to. A number of Dr. Dee’s patients may not be your patients and vice versa. Some may be considered both your patients if they have received vision care services from you and Dr. Dee. However, patient records must be kept separate.
2. Dr. Dee is responsible for records she has generated for her patients as you are responsible for patient records that you have collected on behalf of your patients. Dr. Dee can choose to move all of her patient records to her new practice or transfer them to another optometrist. Access to any patient record is governed by provincial legislation. Even if you share practice space, patient consent is still required to release any record to a third party.
3. Patients are entitled access to their records. They can either get copies of the records themselves, request to send copies of their records to another eye care professional, or have an optician/optometrist request records on their behalf.
Opticians can use the form “Authorization to Release Patient Information” from the COBC website under the resources section if they need to request records on behalf of the patient.
Patient’s signature is required for this consent form.