Why can’t you access your health record online?

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  • Marg hermann says:

    I am tired of having to pay for every record of my healthcare. OHIP has covered the fee to have the procedure done. The records are not available to all health care professionals including hospitals. The record should at the very least be in my hands to distribute to my other care professionals as I see them.

  • Joel Tbo says:

    Great, thorough article. Thank you for creating it.

    From my own perspective in dealing with lots of doctors volunteering for better health outcomes that seems to get widely discredited is the need for patient access. It is not widely adopted because the amount of application features are comparative to a early 2000’s app. I use MyChart at least 3 times a month. I end up needing to create my own data based on those reports in a spreadsheet.

    It would be nice if you could right an article comparing different health care applications within Canada.

  • Len Inkster says:

    I travel the world extensively. I feel it is important that I have a complete record of my medical history with me at all times. Having moved from the UK to Canada a number of years ago, I provided this record to each doctor as I moved about in Canada. I cannot however get a consolidated record of all my medical treatment, imaging and other records since I’ve been here. I am on 4 different portals, each of which charges me for access to MY DATA. This system is just a money grab, and Health-Canada, in the 21st Century should have something in place that ensures the health records of all of us are centralised, secure and accessible, not fragmented across a multitude of profiteering businesses that hold OUR DATA Hostage.
    It is up to me to ensure that the record is secured and accurate, as it is MY RECORD. It should be Health-Canada’s responsibility to ensure I have access to what is added to that record while in Canada!!

    • David says:

      Another problem for those travelling internationally is that many medical portals block ip address from abroad for fear of hackers, seized medical info, and ransoms.

  • Catherine Casey says:

    Health records should be available to me whenever I want them—the reason is it is my record and my health and I should have complete access. I had a doctor for a few months this past year WHO DESTROYED all my original health records–without my knowledge. When I worked in hospitals this was illegal! Has this rule changed? This doctor is an immigrant who does not understand English well. As a result of the Poor health care I received from her I had to fire her. I have several health problems but she was too afraid to see me in person because of COVID. Even after I was hospitalized she would not see me. How are so called “doctors” like this allowed to practice in this country? Why do we have few few Canadian born doctors?

  • Caleb says:

    Hi, I want to subscribe for this Hebergement Web site to take latest
    updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.

  • Robert Rode says:

    I have had diabetes for 23 years and want to apply for tax releif but cannot access my medical records from various doctors and clinics where I was living over the years.Why is this info not available?

  • Doug ward says:

    I object to having my results being held hostage until I pay a fee, up until now it has been free on my hospital portal
    I never heard of this or gave permission to have anyone control my med records other than my Hospital . Basically this is extortion

  • John W Dodson says:

    Answer these questions:
    1/ Am I able to access my medical records – here?
    2/ What information do I need in addition to my Ontario Health Card?
    3/ If I can access my health records: Where do I get the step by step directions as to how to do so?
    4/ If there are restrictions on accessing my health files and there is then are the restrictions?
    5/ If I am permitted to view ‘my records’ how do I proceed expeditiously?
    Request: My guess is that I’m not able to access my records. If this is the case then state that up front in BIG Letters. If we’re not able to access our files then state why?

  • tom greenberg says:

    I moved from Alberta to Halifax. The hospital in Alberta took over 2 months to send my medical records to my family doctor.

  • Marino says:

    It is not to any medical facility or health provider interest to transcribe in wording the findings in blood, imaging, examinations to explain to the patient the “medical findings”.
    The doctor will not sit at the keyboard after the patient leaves their office, after consultation/evaluation and prescribing meds; add to patient historical database.
    They will not voice dictate their findings, for the office support personnel to enter concise evaluation to the patient’s database.
    This would be true of family doctors, emergency facilities, or health specialists.

    I paid X$ to my family doctor for copies of my historical visits and tests prescribed.
    Nowhere did I extracted any bits/clues of information, as to the health provider findings in the level of my health.
    The blood tests are very generic as what the check sheet provided by the health provider, ask to be tested.
    It is returned by test lab itemizing/analyzing the various components/minerals/other critical elements.
    They are tabulated in actual reading and how they compare to acceptable high/low levels.
    I do not recall seeing in the family physician’s which I paidX$, review of blood tests and finding consultations to me.
    I do recall on my next appointment asking as to the findings, and being informed “there are no concerns”.
    To have a use-full/informative patient database it needs to “full circle”. Doctor visit/examination, Doctor’s findings/medicine prescription, Lab tests/imaging required, specialists referral. Confer with patient with findings/Enter findings in patient’s historical database .
    This would include any abnormalities found in doctor office visits, blood tests, radiologist imaging analysis, specialist recommendations.

    Having thought about the above comments and “my 2 finger entry”…..time approx. 30- 45 mins.
    My guess is that medical provider are not willing to take the time to provide patients with “informative analysis/recommendation, with accessible patient database.

    As my Experiences:
    1st physical with new family doctor:
    After a echocardiogram, opinion of the doctor I have an enlarged heart, with no recommendations.
    Was referred to a cardiologist, and put thru their full test parameters, including the stress test.
    There were no concerns/required medication/lifestyle/nutritional changes presented by the cardiologist or further visit with the family physician.

    2nd physical with same family doctor:
    After an EKG opinion of the doctor “reading showed a high heart rate”, with no recommendations.
    Was referred to a cardiologist, and put thru their full test parameters, including the stress test.
    There were no concerns/required medication/lifestyle/nutritional changes presented by the cardiologist or further visit with the family physician.

    3rd A visit with same family doctor indicating that I had experienced some abdominal/lower rib cage pains:
    They were not continual, only short, sudden , and short duration.
    The family doctor’s opinion was these were signs of an acid reflux occurrence, with a prescribed medication given.
    An EKG was preformed by family Dr.’s office personnel ” not sure if the person had RN credentials”.
    In family doctor consultation was informed that I had experienced a mild heart attack.
    Was referred to same previous cardiologist, and put thru their full test parameters, including the stress test.
    There were no concerns/required medication/lifestyle/nutritional changes presented by the cardiologist or further visit with the family physician.

    Upon next family Dr. visit I enquired as to him diagnosing me having a silent heart attack by the the EKG graphing, were the cardiologist opinion was “unconcern”.
    His reply being “the specialist is correct”.

    4th Visit Family doctor was tested for blood pressure:
    Family doctor indicated that the values showed high blood pressure concerns.
    There were no instructions to relax for a moment, we need to take a second “comparison test”, which is correct medical protocol.
    Jotting values on a post-it would have been valuable for me to mull and evaluate comparisons to acceptable levels.
    The above simple sharing would be the very basic of keeping the patient informed of their “health status/concerns/warnings/recommendation/grades”. The beginning of the “Patient’s Informative Health Record”report card.

    This time referred to different cardiologist, and put thru their full test parameters, including the stress test.
    There were no concerns/required medication/lifestyle/nutritional changes presented by the cardiologist or further visit with the family physician.

    It is very apparent that there is very little interest to be more mind-full as to what diagnosis is presented to patients, being prudent to hold off on “Dire opinions” and leave it to the specialists to render an expert medical finding.
    Spewing continual “heart warnings” to patients can only have negative results, were original diagnosis is “overturned”.

    My family came to Canada in 1959, my parents were in their middle 40’s having endured a “major crisis” in their life living thru the ravages of WWII, pulling up roots coming to Canada, not knowing the language, having to work in the fields for menial wages.
    They endured “as their age/strength/courage/will power ” were still resilient.
    They achieved home ownership, few trips abroad to their homeland/relatives, children married, bringing grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    And upon their golden years/and their passing on “Dad being 89 2004, and Mom being 92 2009”.
    My experience witnessed/was part of the best of the medical/health support, when they were at their weakest stage most dependent on the “Health System”.

    It is not about how many patient visitations/billing charges can be handled per hour.
    This is not only a criticism of the family doctors, but including every one from the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Health the Ministry of Health and Long Term Health Care, Health Care Connect. All the Ontario LHIN’s bureaucrats.
    At first blush with all the above “I should feel reassured of having a full umbrella specifically acronymed health control Centres looking after/supporting my health needs.

    Having lost my family Dr.

    So far I have learned:
    -The Premier of Ont. has proposed the collapsing of the LHIN’s .
    -my city has not had a family Dr. accepting new patients in 4 years.

    My assigned care Connector from Health Care Connect indicated that:
    -There was a family doctor within my area and 3/4 of an hour drive from my residence’ and they have received 700 applications, and will set up interview within 2 months
    -There three walk in clinics that have no “in-house” doctors available, only “Skype linked ” physicians to consult/support.
    They can schedule blood testing, imaging , specialists.

    Questions that I have inquired of various heath support personnel have been:
    I have no family doctor, how do I get an extensive physical? with no immediate/positive answer.
    If there has been no family doctors accepting patients in the last 4 years, what is the time frame anticipating resolution of this ongoing problem. Are we looking at 1,3,5…..year plans? Most answers have been a very sympathetic “I am sorry I don’t know I don’t have a family physician of my own”.

    I do not have that “warm fuzzy” feeling of that above umbrella looking after my health needs.
    When someone has come to expect his lifelong contributing taxes would be used prudently by the “governing machine”, Then the least to be expected is having continual access to a family physician.

    What we are forgetting here is that rate of “numbers of doctors accepting new patients ” need to occur at a greater pace than “doctors retiring or leaving a specific poorly health supported area, namely my city.

    Upon closing it simply is a system “People helping people in need”, with the Joy it flow thru one.

    I realize that this comment area has a very specific topic, and my opinions may be rambling that I need to vent.
    I have retained a copy of this transcript and will forward to various ministries, heath/governing official news media.
    Hopefully I have found just a “bump in the road”, that will be resolved eventually and to look back with the saying “Don’t Worry be Happy”

  • Fred says:

    I have been registered in Nova Scotia @ MY HEALTH NS for several years, but, still have no access to my records. Not all Doctors are registering or participating. Why is there not one registry for ALL Nova Scotia health records and allow us to have access to our records. Not everyone will or will be able to use such access, but, those of us who want it and can use it should have access …. without having to go through your medical care provider.

  • mary ann says:

    canada should get onboard. It makes people more aware of their health and easier way to keep up. The password keeps everything and everyones info safe.

  • Malcolm Brigden says:

    Millions of dollars spent, and yet this fundamental right is not available to Canadian citizens-who are these people that we allow to control us in this fashion-the healthcare system is fully funded out of the taxes we pay-it’s because we as Canadians are such docile non-complainers that these sorts of imbecilic situations are allowed to persist

    Malcolm Brigden

  • Chad Leaver (Canada Health Infoway) says:

    Excellent summative piece! Please check out Canada Health Infoway’s latest national study: Valuing citizen online access to their health information and digital health e-services here: The study identifies evience informed value-based outcomes for patients and the health system using 2016-2017 national utilization rates of four PHR-Functionalities: eView, eVisit, eRx renew – and virtual visits.

    Recent articles highlighting virtual visits and patient access to lab results in BC – and other Canadian-based studies in the field are published in an e-Collection of peer-reviewed articles on JMIR:

    Thanks for bringing this timely insight to the value of citizen’s online access to their health information!

  • Filip Rolland says:

    100% that we as patients should have access to our medical records. This way we can get second opinions or even review the information for ourselves. It’s great that organizations like MedChart are coming along that now allow you to request your records from all these various portals.

  • James says:

    Medchart out of Toronto has been working within Canadian hospitals for several years now but I did not see them mentioned above. They are bringing patient access requests online and modernizing hospital health records departments in several Ontario Hospitals to allow health records to be released digitally. For patients, medchart consolidates a secure online patient-owned health record from all of an individual’s healthcare providers and empowers them to control, share, and connect their data. This is available nationally to all Canadians today and has already provided patients with online access to health records from thousands of healthcare providers across every province.

    (disclosure I work at medchart)

  • Judy says:

    Wasn’t Infoway supposed to establish an integrated EHR system? Why has it taken so long, and cost so much, with such poor results?

  • Marc says:

    You didn’t mention that Québec is offering this service since last spring. Carnet Santé Québec permits to see radiology reports, lab results, list of medications given at the pharmacy, scheduling appointments with family doctors. Other services will be offered in the future.

  • Justin says:

    Essentia Health in Minnesota uses the same electronic medical record company as Women’s College Hospital, yet the Essentia Health patient portal is far more advanced than ours. I would like to see Canada catch up to the United States in terms of quality of the patient electronic medical record.


Wendy Glauser


Wendy is a freelance health and science journalist and a former staff reporter with Healthy Debate.

Jeremy Petch


Jeremy is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and has a PhD in Philosophy (Health Policy Ethics) from York University. He is the former managing editor of Healthy Debate and co-founded Faces of Healthcare

Drew Cumpson


Drew is the founder and CEO of Aksesib Consulting Inc. and is a disability advocate focusing on creating change in the world.
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