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Old 29.09.2014, 13:30
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Deletion of health records

Hi,
I was wondering whether there is any such provision by which the patient can request for her medical records to be deleted after two years or so. What is retention period in Switzerland?

Other countries like Netherlands and Germany also have such a provision by which the patient does not require any further treatment or is not a psychiatric patient one can request for deletion.
Does Switzerland have a similar system? Can we also do the same for ambulance records? How can this be done?

If anyone has any insights on this that would be great
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Old 29.09.2014, 13:41
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Re: Deletion of health records

Which canton?

Geneva:
http://www.ge.ch/legislation/rsg/f/rsg_k1_03.html
http://www.ge.ch/legislation/rsg/f/rsg_k3_03.html
http://www.ge.ch/legislation/rsg/f/rsg_k3_03p01.html
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:07
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Re: Deletion of health records

This is a complex question.. Firstly, each canton does indeed have slightly different rulings. As a rule your medical records fall under the Data Protection Law. This means that they must be afforded the appropriate protection from third parites etc. Doctors as a rule are obliged to maintain a continues, "easy to read" medical record for each patient for between 10 to 20 years. However, doctors working in public hospitals are subject to the relevant public law of their Kanton.

As far as I understand for the Kanton Luzern (and Zurich I think), you can get a copy of your record. But the doctors aren't allowed to completely delete it for at least 10 years..
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:15
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Re: Deletion of health records

I have a sort of related question but mod's feel free to move it elsewhere as you think appropriate.

How does one go about obtaining a copy of your medical records when the doctor has retired?
Canton Neuchatel.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:18
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Re: Deletion of health records

I have no idea about the answer- but it triggers a lot more questions.
If your records are deleted, how would you be able to get supplementary insurance, life insurance, a mortgage or other large loan, etc. In the UK, to get any of the above, your doctor has to fill in a medical report, and any of the above will be partly dependent on health records. It might be convenient to get rid of records for one reason, only to find later that lack of medical records could cause a mutlitude of problems.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:18
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Re: Deletion of health records

Thank you for your replies.
I indeed did mean Geneva. So the minimum retention period is a 10 years and there is no provision for deletion like Germany does

I had two cases of alcohol intoxication two years ago. One here and one in Germany. None of these had any legal implications just ended up the hospital for two hours to sleep it off. I was afraid whether they would take this to mean that I have an addiction problem and not give me a driver's license (and probably in the future be denied US visa on this account).

which is why I asked. I was allowed to remove my records in Germany because they were over three years old and I hoping that the canton of Geneva would have a similar provision.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:25
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Re: Deletion of health records

Quote:
I have no idea about the answer- but it triggers a lot more questions.
If your records are deleted, how would you be able to get supplementary insurance, life insurance, a mortgage or other large loan, etc. In the UK, to get any of the above, your doctor has to fill in a medical report, and any of the above will be partly dependent on health records.
The Dr will ask the patient, and fill in the report based on what the patient says. It's really not rocket science.

No Dr in Switzerland has ever seen the medical records for the first 32 years of my life.
No Dr in Switzerland has any idea of my medical history other than for a max of 3 years over the last 20 in Switzerland.
Many mortgages do not require life insurance, the property is the security to the loan. I had 2 mortgages in the UK & never took any life insurance.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:26
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Re: Deletion of health records

That depends on whether your doctor was employed by a hospital or in private practice..

Most likely it was a private practice. Therefore, you can contact who ever took over the practice now. Usually with GP's they also take over the patients and hence have the same obligation to keep the records for at least 10 years*. The 10 year clock begins as of the last entry into the patient record... So, providing that wasn't more than 10 years ago, you should have a good chance to get hold of it.

If noone took over the practice, or you didn't receive any notification of that, then you actually can contact the doctor himself. Doctors, lawyers and a few other professions fall under "frei-berufe" which means (among other things) they carry greater personal liabilities for certain things. This would be one of them.

(* I had a quick check and the 10 years appear to be the federal recommended minimum..)

In ammendment of my previous post: it is possible to request not just a copy of your patient record but all of the originals. Usually the doctor will then require you to sign a statement to the effect that you have requested this and release him/her of their obligation to keep your record for the legally required minimum time. So, while not deleted, I suppose noone other than you then has access..
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:37
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Re: Deletion of health records

Thanks once again!! Can this information be found on any official website.
Also are medical records shared between hospitals in Geneva? Am I to understand that it is only ten years after your last visit to a medical practitioner in Geneva will the records be removed on request.

When I went to the ER here, I was not attended to by any doctor just by the nurses apparently. What is to be done in this case?
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:43
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Re: Deletion of health records

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. I was afraid whether they would take this to mean that I have an addiction problem and not give me a driver's license (and probably in the future be denied US visa on this account).
The driving license authority has no access to your health record. Zou are safe. Unless, they already know it (from a Doctor Art. 15d LCR or Police Art. 123 OAC).

The U.S. may have access to your health record. But I think the data retention policy in Utah is much longer than 10 years.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:43
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Re: Deletion of health records

My brother-in-law is a GP in Zurich and he uses the medical records of patients who have died to light his fire. Worryingly there as rather a lot...
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:45
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Re: Deletion of health records

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Thanks once again!! Can this information be found on any official website.
Also are medical records shared between hospitals in Geneva? Am I to understand that it is only ten years after your last visit to a medical practitioner in Geneva will the records be removed on request.

When I went to the ER here, I was not attended to by any doctor just by the nurses apparently. What is to be done in this case?
Sorry, I was possibly a little unclear. The doctors/hospitals have an obligation to maintain/store a patient record for usually a minimum of 10 years. After such point they must destroy it appropriately. That doesn't prevent the patient requesting all data and originals before that point.

Patient records are not shared as a rule unless you/the patient gives permission.

You were a patient at a specific hospital in Geneva, it doesn't matter who treated you, that hospital now has a patient record pertaining to your treatment in their files. If you wish to have that record handed to you, including all originals, I suggest you write them a letter stating such.

While I understand that you have concerns with regards to the USA Visa etc, might I just point out, that the hospital cannot pass on your record unless you sign a waiver allowing them to do so. This means that you would have to have named the hospital in some form inorder for any authority to request the record from them in the first place.. why not just forget to mention it in a form instead.. you were inebriated after all.. one can forget such things quite easily..
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:46
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Re: Deletion of health records

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The Dr will ask the patient, and fill in the report based on what the patient says. It's really not rocket science.

No Dr in Switzerland has ever seen the medical records for the first 32 years of my life.
No Dr in Switzerland has any idea of my medical history other than for a max of 3 years over the last 20 in Switzerland.
I have no medical records from before we moved to Belgium in 1997 ( aside from a weight record card from the clinic when I was a baby found amongst my late Mother's papers) so all the doctors I've seen subsequently just fill in the records based on what I have told them.


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That depends on whether your doctor was employed by a hospital or in private practice..

Most likely it was a private practice. Therefore, you can contact who ever took over the practice now. Usually with GP's they also take over the patients and hence have the same obligation to keep the records for at least 10 years*. The 10 year clock begins as of the last entry into the patient record... So, providing that wasn't more than 10 years ago, you should have a good chance to get hold of it.

If noone took over the practice, or you didn't receive any notification of that, then you actually can contact the doctor himself. Doctors, lawyers and a few other professions fall under "frei-berufe" which means (among other things) they carry greater personal liabilities for certain things. This would be one of them.

(* I had a quick check and the 10 years appear to be the federal recommended minimum..)
The doctor was a paediatrician in private practice and nobody took over the practice so how would I be able to contact the doctor to get hold of these records?
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:48
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Re: Deletion of health records

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........ This means that you would have to have named the hospital in some form inorder for any authority to request the record from them in the first place.. why not just forget to mention it in a form instead.. you were inebriated after all.. one can forget such things quite easily..


Good job you have a disclaimer as your signature!!
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:50
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Belgianmum: I assume you know the name of the doctor. It's usually fairly safe to assume he lived in the community.. Try tel.search?

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Good job you have a disclaimer as your signature!!
Lawyers are very forgetful you know..

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Old 29.09.2014, 14:54
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Re: Deletion of health records

Unless the US has changed their law, unless you have been arrested for some alcohol related offense, you should not have a problem with a visa. I think the arrest has to lead to a felony conviction.
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Old 29.09.2014, 14:57
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Re: Deletion of health records

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Belgianmum: I assume you know the name of the doctor. It's usually fairly safe to assume he lived in the community.. Try tel.search?
I already tried that but she didn't come up here but maybe it's under her husband's name. I will try neighbouring cantons.
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Old 29.09.2014, 15:01
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Re: Deletion of health records

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I already tried that but she didn't come up here but maybe it's under her husband's name. I will try neighbouring cantons.
Another option is to contact the new local peadiatrician.. often the "newbies" know where their previous "competition" have gone.. this applies more in rural areas than the cities.
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Old 29.09.2014, 15:15
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Re: Deletion of health records

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The Dr will ask the patient, and fill in the report based on what the patient says. It's really not rocket science.

No Dr in Switzerland has ever seen the medical records for the first 32 years of my life.
No Dr in Switzerland has any idea of my medical history other than for a max of 3 years over the last 20 in Switzerland.
Many mortgages do not require life insurance, the property is the security to the loan. I had 2 mortgages in the UK & never took any life insurance.
Most mortgages require a medical report from your GP in the UK- even if they do not require life-insurance. House may well be security now- but so many were in negative equity in the 80s- so what happens then in case of demise. If you are single, it is easier- but most people who have dependents will want to have the mortgage covered by life-insurance in case something happens to them. For us, it was very difficult to obtain, as a very serious pre-exisiting condition was excluded, and we also had to pay a lot more for cover.

Many insurances will accept you on your word- but will go through everything with a toothcomb if you come a-cropper and will then decline to pay as something was not disclosed.

BM- what happened to your UK records from birth to departure? Things are obviously very different here to UK- but insurance reports there are the bane of any GP's life, as they are required for so many things, and notes have to studied carefully for said reports.

Without the necessary records, a doctor would have to do a whole battery of tests in order to fill in a report s/he would have to legally sign- or if done on sole info given by patient, would have to state so clearly and that they cannot be responsible for the info therein, surely.

Last edited by Odile; 29.09.2014 at 15:29.
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Old 29.09.2014, 15:16
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Unless the US has changed their law, unless you have been arrested for some alcohol related offense, you should not have a problem with a visa. I think the arrest has to lead to a felony conviction.
As one can see here: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86936.pdf

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I already tried that but she didn't come up here but maybe it's under her husband's name. I will try neighbouring cantons.
From another thread:

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This is the official website of the Swiss sanitary authorites, with all registered doctors, including those not registered on the FMH website.

http://www.medregom.admin.ch/FR

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