Save your sanity, time & money!

Need solutions for the medication, medical appliances and/or medical travel that you can't afford? READ EMPOWER Yourself.

A Health Information Management professional, I survived a life-threatening emergency with information that only a person of my professional experience would know. And I’m sharing it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The 5-Step Plan for Getting Copies of Your Medical Records


24 Tamuz 5770

My cyberlife includes a LinkedIn presence, where I communicate with professionals and laypersons from all walks of life.

One of those people posted a question yesterday, asking how to obtain someone else's medical records with proper authorization. She also asked if everything is in digital format these days, what's called EMR or Electronic Medical Records. My reply to her might be helpful to you, too:

A former Health Information Management
professional who helped the public while I
conferred with lawyers, insurance
companies, statisticians and in-house
personnel, I can tell you how to
accomplish your goal.

1. Electronic Medical Records
do not exist at all
medical offices. Some
practitioners still
use paper only.

2. You need to reach the person
in charge of medical records
at each & every relevant
office, ask about the procedure
for obtaining medical records
and/or abstracts (snippets/
summaries of the main
points in the patient's
medical files), and follow
the protocol as it exists.
Cutting corners won't work as
it endangers the patient's
confidentiality, the
medical office's integrity
and your trustworthiness.

3. Keep a detailed log/diary
of all communications so you
can follow up your efforts
with accurate information.
Note names, dates, contact
info and comments made by
all parties.

4. Keep whatever you receive
in confidence. DO NOT share a
hint or a peek of anything.
Patient confidentiality is a
most sensitive area. You have
no idea whom or how badly
you're hurting someone by
disclosing private medical
information. There's a reason
it's so hard to get hold of
someone else's medical files.

5. For ease of review, I
recommend that you buy a
multi-pocket binder so you
can insert each packet of
information (discs, paper
records, whatever) separately,
keeping things accessible,
readable and safe from
folding, spindling and
other mutilation. DO NOT
EAT OR DRINK near medical
records. Spills obliterate
necessary text. Usually the
part you need most.

Yocheved Golani

Self-Help coach Yocheved Golani is the author of highly acclaimed E-book "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge" (

No comments: