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CDT Launches Page On Getting Your Medical Records

How can I get a copy of my medical records? What if I think my record is inaccurate? What are the basic steps I should take to protect the records I obtain?

Patients have been asking questions like these for years, sometimes with mixed results. Some patients, for example, report that their request for a copy of their own records is refused on privacy grounds, but this is typically incorrect. For the past seven years, access to medical records has been one of the top three issues requiring investigation and corrective action by HHS. Now you can get the facts about your rights with a new resource from the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT).

Today, CDT is launching a page answering frequently asked questions about how individuals can obtain copies of their medical records. The page is called Getting Your Medical Records. The resource gives patients information on their legal rights to access, copy and correct their health data, as well as practical tips on how patients can protect their data once they have it. The resource is up-to-date with current law, and CDT will update it as patient access policies evolve.

The Getting Your Medical Records page explains

  • The benefits of getting your medical records,
  • Your legal right to obtain and correct your records,
  • What kind of records you can get and in what format,
  • How long you’ll have to wait and how much it will cost to get your records,
  • What you can do if your provider refuses to give you a copy, and
  • How to safeguard paper and electronic copies of your medical information, including information on memory sticks/flash drives.

Health information technology can improve the ability of patients to manage their own care, but patients need information about their own health conditions to do this effectively. With access to their medical information, patients can monitor their health conditions, conduct in-depth research into therapies and treatments, review their records for errors, and help avoid redundant tests by more easily sharing their records with new health care providers. Patients will also be able to use their data to take better advantage of digital health applications for personal use.

CDT hopes Getting Your Medical Records will empower patients to take critical steps toward these benefits by putting their information directly into their own hands.