It’s very easy to leave your medical records with doctors and hospitals. However, it’s your health that is involved and it may be time that you have control over the information regarding it.
Patient advocates are arguing that leaving medical records with doctors give them too much power over the information, which is vital to the patient, and there is an increased opportunity for error as a result. Additionally, allowing medical records to remain with doctors prevents patients from using the information for their own benefit.
By taking charge of their medical records, patients can help to circumvent the “data lock” where a doctor’s record system is not able to “talk” with another’s, or when a hospital makes it difficult to transfer files to a competing provider. Patients who obtain their records are able to give out the information when they consult specialists, seek a second opinion, or shop for care that is less expensive.
Having control over the data can also be important for safety reasons. Every year there are 400,000 people in the United States who die because of medical errors. This includes 80,000 who have died because doctors didn’t have necessary information in hand. These errors can be prevented if the patient can carry this information wherever they go.
Ironically, one road block for patient’s to access their own medical records are electronic health records. Doctors and hospitals have digitized millions of medical files in an effort to make them easier to analyze and share. The goal was to improve care and cut costs. However the result has often been to make it easier for government regulators, data-crunchers, and bill collectors to access the information, rather than making it easier for the patients themselves.
There are some who do not think that it is good for patients to take charge of their medical records. Some doctors claim that patient files will often contain data that is confusing, causing patients to worry needlessly and require explanations that can be very time-consuming. Additionally, there are some people who are too sick, too busy, or too anxious and don’t wont to monitor their own health data.
However, there are a growing number of people in the United States who want access to their medical records as they change doctors or look for their own answers. Some doctors believe that the more informed patients are about their care the more invested they become in their health and the care they receive.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.