Good dental recordkeeping is critical to the practice of dentistry.
It ensures continuity of care for patients and may help to reduce the
likelihood of a complaint.
CDSBC often receives questions from both dentists and patients about ownership of and access to records. A simple discussion of access to records is provided below.
Note that complete requirements for dental recordkeeping and the ownership, transfer and retention of dental records can be found in CDSBC's Dental Recordkeeping Guidelines (PDF).
patient owns all of the information contained in their patient chart
and has the legal right to access a copy of their complete dental
record. Dentists are obligated by law to provide copies of what the
patient has requested, including radiographs, study models and
photographs. A reasonable fee may be charged to cover the cost of
duplicating the records and radiographs.
Dentists may not withhold
a patient’s records even when the patient owes money for dental work.
Fee disputes or other disagreements between the patient and dentist are
not grounds to withhold access to, or transfer of, patient records.
Offices must also provide the patient records if another dental office
requests them. It is acceptable to provide a complete copy of the
records or send the originals to the new office with a request that the
records be copied and returned. Specific requirements for retention of
records are included in CDSBC’s Dental Recordkeeping Guidelines.
A reasonable fee may be charged to cover the cost of duplicating the records and radiographs.