Getting Your Medical Records

Patients have a legal right to obtain and correct medical records about themselves, but many patients have reported difficulty in doing so. While health information technology can make it easier for patients to access and correct their data, patients still need to know the steps to take to obtain copies of their health records, what to do if a provider or plan refuses a request to obtain or correct a record, and how patients should protect their health records once they have them. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is releasing this Frequently Asked Questions page as a basic resource to help patients exercise their rights and protect their data.

Why would I want my records?

 

Self-care

Reduce errors and redundancy

 

 

Getting your records

 

Do I have the right to obtain a copy of my medical records?

Sometimes a health care worker will mistakenly argue that they cannot release your own medical records to you due to privacy laws. This is a common misconception, and you should not accept this as an answer. In nearly all cases, your health care provider or health plan is obligated to grant your request for access or copies. You do not have to give them your reasons for making the request, even if they ask.

Your provider may ask that you put your request in writing. They may also charge a fee. [See How much will it cost me to obtain a copy of my records?]

 

In what format can I get the records?

 

What kind of records can I obtain?

There are some exceptions to this. For example, you don’t have a right to get copies of psychotherapy notes or information your provider is compiling as part of a lawsuit.

 

Who do I have to ask to get a copy?

How much will it cost me to obtain a copy of my records?

How long would I have to wait to receive my copy?

Can my provider refuse to give me a copy of my records?

What can I do if my provider refuses?

Correcting your records

 

Do I have the right to request a correction to my medical record?

Why would I want to correct an error on my medical record?

How should I request a correction to my medical information?

How long would I have to wait until the correction is made?

Can my provider or plan refuse my request to correct my records?

What can I do if my provider or plan refuses to make the correction I requested?

Keeping your records private and secure

 

Why do I need to protect my medical information?

How should I protect hard copies of my medical information?

How should I protect medical information in a PHR?

How should I protect medical information on a flash drive or other portable media?

 

How should I protect information I access through the Internet?

In what format can I get the records?

What kind of records can I obtain?

Who do I have to ask to get a copy?

How much will it cost me to obtain a copy of my records?

How long would I have to wait to receive my copy?

Can my provider refuse to give me a copy of my records?

What can I do if my provider refuses?

Correcting your records

 

Do I have the right to request a correction to my medical record?

Why would I want to correct an error on my medical record?

How should I request a correction to my medical information?

How long would I have to wait until the correction is made?

Can my provider or plan refuse my request to correct my records?

What can I do if my provider or plan refuses to make the correction I requested?

Keeping your records private and secure

 

Why do I need to protect my medical information?

How should I protect hard copies of my medical information?

How should I protect medical information in a PHR?

How should I protect medical information on a flash drive or other portable media?

 

How should I protect information I access through the Internet?

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