Always Ask for Copies of Health Records at Each Visit
It can be difficult to get your health records weeks or months after a doctor's visit. Different states have different rules. Sometimes you need to complete an application, and sometimes there is a fee. It is a good idea to ask for key health records at the end of each visit—ask for test results and transfusion records.
A federal law, the HIPAA Privacy Rule, gives you the right to see, get a copy of and amend your medical records. Most states also have laws that give you access to your records. The Center on Medical Record Rights and Privacy has information on all 50 states' laws and procedures for obtaining your medical records. Visit the Center online.
Consider Creating Your Own Complete Personal Health Record (PHR)
If you don't have one, now may be the time create a complete personal health record, or PHR for short. The PHR is a tool that you can use to collect, track and share all your past and current health information about your health or the health of someone in your care. A complete PHR can help your healthcare providers understand your personal health story, avoid unnecessary tests and procedures, and lessen the chance of medical errors.
To start your personal health record, you will need to request a copy of your health records from all of your healthcare providers, including your general practitioner, eye doctor, dentist, and any other specialists you have seen.
Remember, you are ultimately responsible for making decisions about your health. A PHR can help you accomplish that. For detailed information on how to create your own personal health record, go to www.myPHR.com. This Web site is a service of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)