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Asking for copies of your medical records
Monday, August 31, 2009 | Cindy Boester

It’s OK to ask for copies of your medical records! 

Most of us grew up thinking that “the doctor knows best.”  What this meant was that the medical record that was kept in the doctor’s office, or at the hospital, or with the dentist or ophthalmologist or optometrist, was the property of the provider.  We didn’t ask to see what was in it, and no one ever offered to share.  In fact, it was pretty clear that we were not allowed to touch, and certainly not look at what was being documented about us.

Well, times have certainly changed, thanks to two major events:
1. Increasing use of the internet by patients for health-related research, answers to questions, online support groups, and blogs for any medical topic you may wish to chat about, leading to patients who are smarter and better informed about their treatment options.

2. HIPAA - the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which formalized the process for obtaining copies of your medical records.  HIPAA, the same act that regulates how your health information is handled to protect your privacy, also gives you the right to see and obtain a copy of your records. By simply completing an authorization form, you are entitled to receive a copy of your medical record from any provider you see.

What this means for you, as you think about creating your own Per

sonal Health Record (PHR), is that it’s now much easier for you to ask for your records.  No doctor is surprised any more when a patient asks for copies of test results or a written consultation.  It’s your right, so what are you waiting for?  Start building your PHR at your next visit.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is!

Tags   personalhealthrecord, phr, medicalrecords, caregivers, seniors, HIPAA

About This Blog

PHRs are still fairly new to the healthcare system, and we understand that as healthcare consumers, you have questions about the benefits and risks of keeping a PHR. For this reason, we provide a communication forum – the Seniors’ Blog – to connect you with health information management professionals for tips and advice on creating and maintaining your own PHR. This section of also provides resources and educational material about PHRs to answer some of your questions and help you determine if a PHR is right for you.

Blog Contributors

Marsha Dolan, Valerie Watzlaf, Cindy Boester, Heidi Shaffer, Julie Wolter, Margaret Hennings, Colleen Goethals, Vera Rulon, Leah Grebner, Robert Caban, Mynilma Olivera-Vazquez, Amanda Bushey, Margie Kelly, Donna DuLong, Sarah Dietze, Valisha McFarlane, Maria Kovell, Ted Eytan, Leann Reynolds, Laura Heuer, Kristin Stewart, Derek Allen, Chris Matthies, Margo Corbett, Craig Newmark, Sarah Buelterman, Skyler Tanner, Aniruddha Malpani, Joan Malling, Marilyn McFarlane, Megan Rooney, Patrick Rhone, Dr. Carrie Nelson, Maria Bouselli, Erin Jordan


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