Thursday, July 14, 2005

Privacy Commissioner considers access request to physician's notes of an independent medical exam

A new finding from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner deals with an individual's request for access to the examination notes from a physician who conducted an independent medical examination of an insured under an insurance policy. The physician refused the request, first stating that the notes were not "personal information" because they did not form a part of the individual's medical record. Not surprisingly, the Assistant Commissioner didn't buy that argument.

The physician argued that even if it was personal information, it was protected by two exceptions to the access principle: (i) that it was solicitor client privileged, and (ii) was generated in the course of a formal dispute resolution process. The Assistant Commissioner did not agree with either arguments, principally because the medical exam was conducted in order to determine whether benefits under the policy should be continued but before any dispute resolution process had been initiated.

See the Assistant Commissioner's findings at: Commissioner's Findings - PIPEDA Case Summary #306: Physician refuses to provide access to individual's personal information - March 17, 2005

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