Choose what information you want
Patients can request their medical records in whatever format they prefer, regardless of whether printed or digital. Usually, health care providers will be able to provide your records in your desired format, but some smaller medical practices may only be able to provide paper copies.
While doctors can’t charge access fees for providing your medical records, be informed that they can charge for “reasonable” costs of copying and printing your records. If you have a long or complex medical history, that can add up.
You can limit your request for medical records to certain time periods if you want to. You can also ask that you only get records that are for a certain condition or specialist, but you run the risk of missing key information.
Information that is included in your medical records include
- The initial history and physical examination from each doctor.
- Consultation reports from specialists, as well as any notes
- Operative reports
- Test results, especially those used to track chronic conditions or showing meaningful test results
- Current medication list
- Discharge summary if you were hospitalized
Information that may be excluded from medical records
- Psychotherapy notes
- Information that could endanger the physical safety of the patient or another person
- Information compiled for use in a lawsuit
- Information that is part of a research project while it is still in progress
- If your request for information would reveal the identity of a source that was promised confidentiality
Certain medical information such as HIV/STD records may require further authorization in addition to your initial request.