Flood in High River destroyed many medical files
Doctors being advised to hire restoration experts to try to salvage patient charts
The June flood badly damaged many medical clinics in High River, leaving some doctors without their patients’ medical records.
Dr. Karen Bailey shipped 800 waterlogged patient charts from her gutted, mould-infested office to a company in Ontario that will try to salvage them.
Without those files, the obstetrician said appointments that used to take 15 minutes can now take up to 45.
"So I'm almost having to start from scratch with, 'Alright give me your history.'"
The recovery of medical records may be impossible in some cases, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.
Doctors have been advised to hire companies specializing in recovering sensitive documents, college spokesperson Kelly Eby said.
"Most of them are seriously damaged and they are considered hazardous materials, and that's why we recommend they go with professionals," Eby said.
While she waits to find out if any of her damaged charts can be salvaged, Bailey said she's just focused on patient care.
"You've got to make sure that you're up to snuff with everything and that we haven't forgotten that one important detail that would have been written in the chart and might make a difference to how you're going to treat these people," she said.
Meanwhile, a strategy for electronic medical records in Alberta is supposedly in the works. Alberta Health Services recently agreed to partner with the Alberta Medical Association in coming up with a plan.