Get Your Health Records

Why Get Your Records?

It’s your legal right as a Canadian. Your health records belong to you, and it’s likely you need them – whether you’re aware of it or not.

Canadian and international research shows patients who take full ownership of their health data and use that information to make more informed decisions about their health can achieve improved health outcomes. Put simply: taking control of your own health records could make you healthier long-term.

Don't Know Where to Start?

We didn’t either. Turns out, you can break it down into four basic steps to get your records. This process is supposed to be simple, but it can be very much the opposite in reality.

The good news is we can help! First, we’ve actually been there. Check out our blog for our stories. Second, we’ve done our best to gather all the information you need to navigate the bureaucracy of it all.

Step 1

Get Your Billing Record

  • When you join the co-op, we request a copy of your Canadian billing history on your behalf.
  • The file is then uploaded to your OmniHealth Vault.
  • Find any health care service event such as x-rays, CAT-scans, hospital stays, prescription histories, visits to clinics, specialists, and physicians.
  • This file contains billing codes – if you’re a cisgender male and the government paid for your pregnancy test, you know your records need to be corrected.
  • Request and upload a copy of associated medical records – Lab tests, x-rays, MRI, CAT-scans and clinical records from a walk-in-clinic.
  • Add notes to any billing event or uploaded file.

There are additional resources and more detailed information about this step on the Know Your Rights page.

Step 2

Choose Your Data

  • Now that you have a copy of your billing record/s, you can start making decisions about which information will be most useful for you.
  • Not all health records are equally important – you need copies of the records that will support diagnosis and treatment plans specific to you and your needs.
  • Everyone’s health record needs are different.

There are thousands of illnesses and diseases and individuals can have different combinations of them. A Complex Chronic Disease (CCD) is any condition involving multiple overlapping symptoms. These patients present to the health care system with unique needs, disabilities, or functional limitations. People with a CCD need the attention of multiple health care providers or facilities, as well as community home-based care in some cases. One size does not fit all when it comes to health records.

Step 3

Make A Request

  • Under Canadian law, every citizen has the right to request copies of their health records from healthcare service providers.
  • All orders of government are subject to the protocols set out in the Access to Information Act (ATIA) at the federal level or Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation at the provincial/territorial and municipal level – these legal instruments allow individuals to request copies of their health records.
  • While the process is supposed to be “simple”, it can be complicated and hard to navigate – each provincial and federal body may have different policies and steps.

It can be a lengthy process and if you aren’t sure of your rights, it’s easy to be turned away, told you can’t have the information you’re requesting, or told you can only have a paper copy of your records.

Read more about how to submit an FOI request here. Get to Know Your Rights here.

Step 4

Use Your Data

  • Now that you have your records, you can use this information to make better-informed decisions about your health care, and share your information with the health care providers of your choice.
  • Use your information to finally get that elusive diagnosis, or find the right treatment for you.
  • Participate in research – and get compensated.
  • Create a health history for your family – you can pass important genetic health information down the generations.

What is yOur Story?

Members have stories to share about why they want access to their health records and the difficulties encountered when trying to access and use them.   

These stories help us identify common problems and some potential solutions for them.

Join now and tell your story in the member’s only area. 

Help! Bureaucracy!

Frustrated? We get it. Bureaucracy can have that effect on people. There are already some resources available online to guide you through the process of getting your records:

You should also consider us a resource. We’ve learned quite a lot (and will continue to learn) about how to successfully navigate bureaucracy, and we’d love to pass this knowledge on to you.