Q:

How do you go about obtaining a copy of your medical records from your doctor?

A:

Quick Answer

To get medical records from your doctor, a patient completes a medical release authorization form; the preferred form is usually supplied by the doctor's office in question. If requesting medical records for someone else, the individual must have the proper authorization to do so.

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Full Answer

Medical records are protected under federal privacy laws, but ways to obtain medical records can vary by state. Individual doctors can also implement their own policies, but these may not go against state or federal law.

A form requesting medical records must be completed to get the process started. Some health care providers allow patients to request their medical records online. When a patient requests medical records, if they are to be sent to another health care provider, this need to be indicated on the medical records release form.

Some medical record release forms have space to specify what medical records are being sought, so it is good to have information such as a date of service or a particular test record handy if required. Medical records to which patients are entitled include lab and diagnostic test records, progress notations, blood test results and X-rays. Those who want all medical records from a particular doctor should indicate that when completing the medical record authorization release form.

Doctors and hospitals are required to keep medical records for at least six years, but this may vary by state. Children’s records must be maintained for several years after they reach the age of majority, and the exact number of years also varies by state.

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