How to Get Your Medical Records | Patient Resources
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) specifies that consumers must be provided access to their personal health information, including their medical records, with limited exceptions. Patients do not have the right to view psychotherapists’ patient notes, for instance.
You should review your medical records and if you think the information is incorrect, you can request that the health care provider or health plan who provided this information correct the record. The health care provider or health plan must respond to your request, and must correct the information if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If the provider or plan does not agree to your request, you have the right to submit a statement of disagreement that the provider or plan must add to your record.
Access to medical records can be provided via web-based access or by making print copies of all of your medical information and delivering it to you. A provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the medical services you have received. Even so, a health care provider may charge for the reasonable costs for copying and mailing the records. The provider cannot charge you a fee for searching for or retrieving your records.
Many larger health care organizations, hospitals, health insurers and HMOs provide web sites or electronic systems where patients can register and retrieve their medical information. Typically, these systems present summaries of a patient’s medical history, but do not necessarily provide fully detailed reports. Patients who receive medical care from multiple providers may have to have to gather information from multiple sites in order to build a complete copy of all of their medical information.
A Personal Health Record, or PHR, is a health record where health data is collected and organized by an individual patient from all the health care providers which that patient uses. The intention of a PHR is to provide a complete and accurate summary of an individual’s medical history which is accessible online. The health data on a PHR might include patient-reported outcome data, lab results (either entered by a patient or downloaded from the testing lab itself), data from devices such as wireless electronic weighing scales or collected passively from a smartphone. You can find more information about PHRs and how to use them at Medicare’s Managing Your Health Information Online.
Patients may provide electronic access to others who they wish to share their medical information with, and can make copies of any paper based information and share that if they want to.
- Patients have a right to view and to receive copies of all of their medical records, with limited exceptions.
- You can access your medical records online in many cases, or request printed copies of your information.
- You can share access to your electronic or paper-based medical information with whoever you choose.
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