The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a secure software program that enables health care providers, providing primary health care services, to improve the quality of care for their patients.
EMR technology is now live in all Primary Health Care Sites within the Cypress Health Region. This includes the communities of Leader, Maple Creek, Eastend, Hodgeville, Vanguard, Mankota, Ponteix, and Shaunavon.
The EMR is used to:
- Securely store and retrieve medical information needed to plan and manage quality primary health care services.
- Enable your health care provider to securely share your personal health information with other members of your primary health care team and other authorized health care providers who are providing health services to you.
- Provide reminders to your health care providers and their office staff so they can schedule you for an appointment when important tests are due.
For more information on EMR view our Your Medical Record is Going Paperless brochure, or view the frequently asked questions below.
What personal health information is collected in the EMR?
The personal health information that your health care provider enters and stores in the EMR is used to provide primary health care services. This information is the same information that is routinely entered in your personal medical chart, and will include:
- Registration information including name, address, gender, date of birth and health services number.
- Clinical information including treatment notes, prescriptions
Is my personal health information safe and confidential?
Your personal health information is confidential and your health care providers take great care to protect your personal health information. Information is kept in strict confidence and is used or disclosed only as authorized or required by law. Privacy requirements outlined in The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) apply to the EMR.
The EMR stores only the minimum amount of personal health information required to plan, manage and provide primary health care services. Your personal health information will only be shared with another health care provider if they are involved in your care and are authorized to view your information.
The following safeguards are in place to ensure only authorized health care providers directly involved in your care and their authorized office staff can view your personal health information in the EMR:
- All health care providers and their office staff are made aware of their responsibilities and agree to maintain the confidentiality of information and use it only on a need-to-know-basis.
- All access to the EMR is tracked and recorded for audit purposes. You can request a report of who has viewed your information in the EMR by asking your health care provider.
- You can mask your clinical information stored in the EMR. Masking hides your clinical information from view.
Strict security safeguards are also in place. Policies, practices and computer systems are designed to protect your personal health information from unauthorized use, error and loss.
If I don’t want my clinical information in the EMR to be viewed or shared by health care providers, what do I do? (The Masking Option)
While there are many benefits to the EMR, it is recognized that some people may not be comfortable with the electronic sharing of their personal health information between authorized health care providers. Patients may choose a masking option, requesting that personal health information in the EMR be masked and made unavailable for view. Individuals who choose this option should talk to their health care provider for more information.
All access to the personal health information (including masked information) is tracked, including the time and date of the access, the name of the health care provider accessing the information, and the reason for accessing the information.
My health care provider refused to help me because I requested my information in the EMR be masked. Does he/she have the right?
Yes. If, in a health care provider’s professional opinion, they cannot recommend a particular course of treatment because all of the patient’s history cannot be accessed, the health care provider may refuse to provide or recommend treatment. An individual may give an individual authorized health care provider consent to view their information, while still ensuring that the record remains masked and unavailable to other users.
What happens if I want my information to be viewed after I have masked it?
Individuals may provide consent to an authorized health care provider to view masked information in the EMR.
If choosing to reverse the decision to mask information in the EMR, the individual should talk to their health care provider. Once the request is received and processed, the individual’s information in the EMR will be unmasked and available for authorized health care providers to view as needed.
- When authorized health care providers log into the EMR and select a record that is masked, the health care provider will be able to view your registration information, but will be prevented from seeing your clinical information, except in these circumstances:
- With consent: At any time, and individual may give a health care provider consent to view their masked information.
- In an emergency, when the individual is unable to provide consent: this would allow a health care provider to access the information in an emergency, such as if an individual is unconscious or unable to provide consent due to illness. The information could be life-saving in these circumstances.
- When use or disclosure of the information is required to provide the specific health services requested or required by the individual.
- When disclosure is required for billing, such as billing for uninsured services or reporting to the Medical Services Branch.
- Where disclosure is required by law.
What happens if a health care facility loses some of its equipment (hardware)?
If a facility loses computer hardware through theft, fire or another circumstance, there is minimal security risk to the information in the EMR. The unencrypted data is not stored on laptops or computer workstations that are accessing the EMR. All patient information is stored on secure servers or stored locally in an encrypted fashion, so that only authorized users can look at the information and/or print a copy of the information for their files.
The database is well protected by using industry standard technical, administrative and physical safeguards, which ensure only authorized users who have a need to know may access the system. Policies and practices for users and administrators are also in place to ensure personal health information is protected.
Can I ask that my records stay the old way?
No. To realize the benefits of the EMR, all medical charts will be changed to electronic format over time. You will not have the option of keeping your chart on paper only.
The existing paper charts will be retained for the time period required by law or other professional standard.
What if I have a complaint of concern about my privacy in the primary health care team or the EMR?
If you have questions or concerns regarding your personal health information, or its use, please talk to your health care provider or another member of your primary health care team.
If you wish to register a formal complaint regarding a privacy issue, you are encouraged to contact the Executive Director of Quality and Privacy for Cypress Health Region at:
Phone: (306) 778-5169
Email: Privacy Officer
If the Privacy Officer is unable to resolve your complaint or concern to your satisfaction, you may contact the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner. This provincial office oversees The Health Information Act (HIPA) in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner can be contacted at:
Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner
503-1801 Hamilton Street