Are You Safeguarding Your Client's Information As Required By Law?

Let's assume that you have been documenting all patient records on paper and now want to change to paper-free.



Your question might be:

I have been using paper charting for my independent practice, but I’m considering going paper-free and using electronic charting What do I need to consider?


There is legislation provincially and federally, to protect the privacy of personal health information. These laws cover your obligations as a regulated professional surrounding the collection, use, sharing, and storing of patients’ records.

The legislation requires a custodian or trustee to be appointed who has the responsibility of ensuring that all requirements of the privacy legislation are met.  For example, if you are a self-employed nurse, it is usually the case that you are considered the legal custodian of the health information you gather, and therefore you are solely responsible for ensuring that your client’s personal health information is collected and stored in a manner that complies with the applicable legislation and practice standards set by your regulatory body.

In privacy laws, specific requirements that deal with the storage and security of personal health information vary between jurisdictions. Therefore, as a general guideline, you as the custodian must ensure that this information is secure regardless of whether paper or electronic records are used. Patient confidentiality is paramount wherever you practice, and it should be standard practice to have robust security surrounding how you manage the information you collect about your clients.

Certain jurisdictions have additional requirements regarding the electronic storage of personal health information. It may be that you are located in a jurisdiction where electronic records are required to have the ability to be audited or to create a record of user activity. These requirements mean that word processing applications like Microsoft Word may not be appropriate. You need to ensure that your electronic record-keeping is acceptable by relevant legislation.  It may be that a suitable software program would work well for your needs.

To learn how CompanyOn can manage the way you collect, share, store and retain patient information, please read more here. You can also sign up for your free trial or book a demo below.

Disclaimer: This information is provided in an attempt to heighten sensitivity, increase awareness, and enhance judgments on this topic. We encourage our audience to contact their legal advisor and regulatory body to learn more. CompanyOn does not represent or speak on behalf of any regulatory body. 

At CompanyOn, we’re committed to supporting our community of solo practitioners, no matter where they are in pursuing professional independence. If you are interested in a particular topic you would like us to discuss, please let us know at [email protected].

Related Resources:

British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives

College of Nurse of Ontario

College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta

College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba

Canadian Nurses Association

Canadian Nurses Protective Society

Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses

Best Practices On The Use, Storage, Retention & Disposal of Clients Personal Information

Due to the nature of the healthcare industry, we will all have access to personal details of the people we help. It is vital that these details are utilized, stored and disposed of in a manner that is respectful to the client and complies with government directives and guidelines.

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