November 28, 2013
College bylaws require that clinical records must be owned by (either under the custody or under the control of) a registrant of our College. Any information collected from a patient for the purposes of providing optometric services forms part of a clinical record.

Ownership of electronic clinical records presents additional challenges.  The Inquiry Committee of the College has determined in past complaint disposition decisions that: (a) ownership of an electronic clinical record must extend to ownership of the computer hardware and software that is used to store the patient information; and (b) the registrants in question did not have control and custody of an electronic clinical record in circumstances where the computer hardware and/or software were owned by a third party.

Registrants who have practices embedded within commercial establishments such as optical stores, supermarkets, and drug stores that maintain electronic clinical records should not only ensure that they have ownership of the clinical records but also that those records are secure against unauthorized access by third parties.  Please refer to Part 7 of the Bylaws for further information.