Reviewing Medical Records

You may feel intimidated about asking your doctor for copies of your medical records.  However, you should keep in mind that they are your records.  Under federal law you have a right to obtain copies of your medical information from almost any place from which you have received health-care services.  The health care providers have thirty days to send you the records.  They can charge for the cost of reproducing the records, but not for the search or retrieval of them.

 

Few patients have accessed their medical records.  Advocacy groups claim that this is because providers have not informed patients of their right to see their records or have not provided them a way to do so.  

 

When patients review their own medical records, they provide some much needed oversight.  They can spot errors, avoid repeat tests, and detect fraud.  Both hospitals and physicians can benefit from this; it could potentially prevent lawsuits.  

 

Patients who obtain their medical records also have a chance to organize it in a way that is easy to understand and use with the help of software programs and apps.  It also allows for all health records to be in one place.  This makes it easier to track medications, immunizations, vital signs, test results, and appointments.

 

Sharing the data as patients see fit also becomes easier when health information is readily available.  They also do not have to wait a doctor’s office to share if for them.  Having a copy of the records also removes the awkwardness of approaching a health care provider with the request as it can be uncomfortable for some patients to ask their doctor to send their records to a different provider.  It also makes it easier for family members or caregivers to have access to critical information, such as the types of medications the patient is taking, allergies, blood type, and major health issue.  

 

Having your medical records also comes with a great deal of responsibility.  It is possible that the information will become vulnerable to loss, theft or hacking.  Thieves can use the name of a patient and their health insurance numbers to obtain drugs or medical care, file claims that are fraudulent, and leave the patient with charges they did not accrue.  This means that is very important that patients protect their personal health records and medical apps with passwords and ensure that records they send and receive are encrypted.

 

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

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