All health care centers in the United States have a list of patient rights, and knowledge of those rights prior to a doctor visit can be beneficial for many patients.
More information about these and other patient rights is available at SLCC Health & Wellness Services’ website at www.slcc.edu/hw.
One such right grants a patient the ability to obtain a copy of his or her medical record.
“I got personal copies of my son’s medical record from the NICU after he was born,” says SLCC student Jennifer Burgoyne. “The record was very useful when I took him to doctor visits after that.”
As students transition from living with their parents to the independence of adulthood, a personal copy of their medical records can be beneficial. Lack of access to information in a medical record can cause tests and procedures to be repeated.
Copies of medical records often can be easily obtained immediately following a medical appointment. Otherwise, records can be requested anytime, though it may take longer to receive records depending how long ago the visit was.
Many facilities give a free printed copy of the patient record, though some do charge a fee
According to US federal law, the maximum fee per page is 50 cents.
One important type of record many patients do not realize they can obtain is electronic copies of medical procedures and tests, such as X-Rays, CT scans, and MRIs. These types of tests can be saved on an electronic device or a compact disc.
Alongside access to one’s own records, patients also have a right to privacy. On Aug. 21, 1996, Congress enacted the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act known as HIPPA, which protects the privacy of “individually identifiable health information.”
Patients can expect their medical records to be confidential, a private exam room and health care workers to be discreet while discussing private health information.
Patients can also expect that private health information will not be shared with any individual who is not directly involved in the care of the patient, although health information can be released to health insurance providers.