Keeping Medical Records Secured in Ontario

Keeping Medical Records Secured in Ontario

Your medical records contain a lot of private information about you. They include not only your name and date of birth, but the result of medical tests, treatments, medication, and any notes your doctor has made about you and your health. Not only that, but whenever your answer a doctor’s question such as “How are you feeling today?” that also goes into your record. It’s not just your primary physician that has a medical record on you. Every doctor and specialist you go to from a dentist to a psychiatrist has their own records.

How are Medical Records Handled

Before, medical records were actual physical pieces of paper, but now almost every doctor keeps an electronic version instead. This has made things much more simple, but also a lot more complicated. While it becomes much easier for doctor’s and specialists to communicate and share your record and their findings (no more fax machine fiascos). However, different programs and software among medical offices means that sometimes there are incompatibilities. However, there are steps being taken by the government to solve these common issues.  Here is how.

How Do I Keep my Medical Records Secure

To keep your medical record secure, it’s important to gather your own copies of your medical records. The law gives patients the right to see, get copies of, and in some cases even change their medical records. It’s important to note that someone untrained to read medical records, especially test results such as blood work and x-rays, may not be able to fully understand them. Something that look significant can turn out to be nothing at all. Keep that in mind.

Once you’ve obtained copies of your medical records (either from your primary care doctor or from various specialists that you might have seen), make sure to keep them in a secure place like a fireproof safe. This will be necessary in case the worst are to happen. By keeping copies, you can keep a backup around in the rare case that something happens to your doctor’s copies. Also, if you change doctors it will be handy to be able to give them a copy of your medical records.

When it comes to medical record security, hospitals employ numerous encryption and security protocols to make sure that only doctors have access to the database of patient files. Most medical records are secured using 128 bit encryption which is universally acknowledged as impossible to break into for even the most modern computers. With that said, you can rest easy knowing that your personal information is safe from any prying eyes and that only you and your doctor know what’s contained in your medical records.

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Ontario Healthcare Goes Virtual

Healthcare is one of the most essential services that promote human welfare. Unfortunately, there has been a major challenge in adhering to doctor’s appointments in Ontario, Canada. In fact, according to Reid (2017), a poll that was conducted by Ipsos revealed that 68% of Canadians have missed a doctor’s appointment at least once. The reasons that were given for missing the appointments included unfavorable time-schedules and long waiting time.

Bearing in mind that those patients who are not critically ill have to factor in the time that they spend visiting hospitals in their daily routines, it becomes hard for them to comply with the fixed time-frames within which their doctors schedule their appointments. In this case, most people have been ending up missing doctor’s appointments to attend to other commitments. Therefore, Maple has intervened to offer a solution to this challenge by providing 24/7 virtual healthcare services. According to Brett Belchetz, the Chief Executive Officer of Maple, the virtual healthcare services are aimed at responding to patients’ needs at their convenient times.

Pros and Cons of Maple Services

Maple is the first virtual platform to offer access to family physicians by patients on a 24/7 basis through virtual appointments. However, the platform also has its own flip side. First, Brett Belchetz made it clear to his audiences that Maple is a technological platform rather than a healthcare service provider. This means that all what the platform does is to link patients with physicians for virtual appointments at any given time. In addition, bearing in mind that the Canada Health Care Act does not accommodate aspects of virtual healthcare, the burden of paying for Maple services lies entirely on the patients. This means that although the establishment of Maple was perceived as good news by the residents of Ontario, they have to pay for the telemedicine services by themselves since they are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Cost of Maple Appointments

Maple charges for appointments based on two main factors that include day of booking and the specified time. Each appointment that is made on a weekday costs $49 while those made on weekends cost $79 each. In addition, any appointment scheduled to take place between midnight and 8 AM costs $99 (Reid 2017).

Maple has played an important role in providing residents of Ontario with an opportunity to make virtual appointments with physicians at any given time. However, the patients have to cater for their telemidecine expenses by themselves since the existing legislation does not recognize virtual healthcare.

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