As of April 2021 there is a new federal rule which requires providers to give patients easy access to their medical information (health data).
You can now easily and quickly obtain your health information such as test results, health issues, and medications. This information may help you to have a clearer understanding of your health status. And it will make it easier for you to share information with your other health providers and allow you to better communicate with billing and insurance representatives.
To obtain your medical information, you need to sign up for online access to the hospital or physician practice Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Many providers use Epic’s MyChart, while other examples are Cerner and Allscripts.
Typically your review will allow you to see:
- Test Results
- Health Summary
- Current Health Issues
- Preventive care
- Medical and Family History
Some EMRs allow you to do an online request for the medical record of an inpatient or outpatient hospital stay, clinic notes, operative notes, consults and other documents. Other EMRs still require a paper Release of Information form be filled out and sent to the Medical Records Department, also known as Health Information Management.
The good news is that you can request the record be loaded into your EMR so you can access it there and at no cost. It may take up to 30 days to receive the requested documents, but previously there could be a charge as high as $1.00 per page even if you received it by email or download. I have received bills as high as $300 from copying services.
You may want to see an article on CaliforniaHealthline.org which includes actual patient situations and how access to their health information was useful. It is entitled “Doctors Now Must Provide Patients Their Health Data Online and On Demand”.