Thursday, January 12, 2006

Requesting Patient Medical Records

It's a good thing to keep a copy of all your records, particularly when you are dealing with an ongoing condition (but generally as well). Request the records be sent to you if you are switching practices as well and then you can bring copies of the records to each new doctor you see --- you will be better informed and it will cost less too.

Some doctors are very strange about not giving you access to your records, they are actually required to do it under the Federal HIPAA law. You have to make a formal written request, and you need to specify both the time period and sometimes even the specific test results/appointments/etc. you are looking for. They have the right to charge you a reasonable fee. (See HIPAA and Medical Record Copy Charges

Here's a great site from the Health Information Management Association about Creating a Personal Health Record with some excerpt below.

Your Rights Under HIPAA:

Right to access, inspect, and copy health information
Right to request correction or amend health information
Right to request accounting of disclosures of health information—who has received it

Accessing Your Health Records
You have the right to access your health records. You may view or receive copies of your records, or instead request a summary of the information. If you receive copies of your records, the office holding the records has the right to charge you the cost of making the copies. You may have to submit a written request to view or receive copies, so the office has a record of your request.

You also have the right to request that changes be made to your health record. If you believe that information in your record is incomplete or incorrect, you can request an amendment.

Amendments can be requested by either contacting the person who made the entry (such as your doctor) or by contacting your healthcare organization's health information management professional. If your request for an amendment is denied you may still request that your request for a change be kept with the record and given to anyone who requests a copy of your health information.

Here's another link that you also might read to help bolster your confidence as a health care consumer if you are having surgery:

Quick Tips -- When Getting Medical Tests

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