The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on October 15, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Maintenance of a Dentist's Notes Concerning Care for Patients in a Computer Rather than on a Handwritten Chart
May a dentist maintain records in an electronic format rather than on a handwritten chart under the New York State Insurance Law?
This is not an issue governed by the Insurance Law or Regulations promulgated thereunder.
A dentist's office is in the process of transferring patients' records to a computer rather than on a handwritten chart. The inquirer is concerned about the consequences under New York State law if the dentist were sued for malpractice. The inquirer has indicated that the liability insurer presently covering the dentist has no objections to this procedure.
As stated above, this is not an issue governed by the Insurance Law or Regulations promulgated thereunder. N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules § 4518(a) (McKinney Supp. 2002), as amended by 2002 New York Laws 136, authorizes the admissibility in evidence of information recorded in the regular course of business, if the record was made at or about the time of the event.
This opinion should not be construed to express any position concerning other applicable State or Federal law, including those statutes regulating confidentiality of patients' records.
For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Robert Freedman at the New York City Office.