Can You Request Your Health Records Online?
So, can you request health records online, and if so, how easy is it? Are there times when it might be better not to? DoNotPay can help you get your health records without hassle, and regardless of which provider you might be going with - we can help with:
HIPAA and Your Right to Access Health Information
First of all, the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) grants you the right to access most of your medical records. It helps make sure that you can take your records with you to a new doctor, saving a lot of time.
The specific clause is 45 CFR § 164.524, Access of individuals to protected health information. The two explicit exemptions are psychotherapy notes (this means your counselor's personal notes taken after a session) and information compiled for use in a lawsuit. Another exemption is for clinical trials; you waive your right to records associated with the research until it is over, which allows for blind trials.
This means that healthcare providers must provide you with the requested information in a timely manner, or give a very good reason for denying it. Be aware that hospitals and providers don't keep healthcare records forever, so if you wait too long to ask the information may no longer be available.
How to Get Copies of Your Medical Records Online
The exact procedure for getting your health records online varies by provider. Some providers support online access better than others. For example, many hospitals have a patient portal and may even preemptively post the records you are allowed to request so that they don't have to mess with it (this is particularly useful for ER visits).
Other providers may not provide a patient portal. In this case, you may need to request your records in writing, making sure to include:
- Social security number
- ID or member number
- Address, email, and phone number
- What records you are requesting
- How you want them to be delivered
You should not send these requests through unencrypted email (this includes all the information a criminal needs to steal your identity, after all). Typically it is best to mail or fax the request. If you are in doubt, then call the hospital.
You can also sometimes make requests for records in person by going to the medical records office at the hospital. Hand delivering a request is also a good way to keep them secure if you have time to do so.
Why You Might Need Copies of Your Medical Records
There are a number of reasons why you might need to request copies of your medical records. They include:
- You received emergency treatment at a hospital and need to make sure your GP gets the details.
- You received emergency treatment at a hospital and they referred you to a specialist for further treatment.
- You are changing doctors or hospitals. Perhaps you are moving, or your doctor is retiring.
- You have a care team because of a chronic or subacute condition and need to make sure every member of your team has all the details.
- You are applying for disability.
- You are compiling a family medical history, for example, if you are planning on starting a family and want to cross-check your and your partner's histories to look for potential problems.
- You want copies of your x-rays or imaging for personal reasons, even simple curiosity.
- You want to independently keep track of things like your immunization history.
Having a copy of your own medical records is also potentially a good idea. What if your doctor's computers get hacked or their building burns down? Will you have all of your records? It's a good idea to request a copy of the records on every procedure you have.
How Much Does It Cost to Obtain Medical Records?
Facilities are allowed to charge for medical records, although there is typically a maximum charge set by the state. For example, in California, facilities can charge up to $0.25 a page and only the "actual cost" for electronic records. Meanwhile, Delaware's maximum rates are considerably higher, at $2.00 a page for the first ten pages.
Requesting your electronic records can, in some states, be cheaper, and then you can print things off yourself as you need them, or simply keep them digital. Printed x-rays, for example, can be particularly expensive. And requesting online through a patient portal is often the easiest way to get your health records.
Get Your Electronic Medical Records With the Help of DoNotPay
We have seen all of these requests before. If there is no patient portal (or you are not comfortable using one), we can help by generating a simple, clear, and effective letter to get your health records for you right away. Just do the following.
- Look up medical records on DoNotPay's website.
- Enter the name of the health care provider you'd like to receive medical records from.
- Answer a few questions about your provider and where you'd like to send the records.
That's it. You or your doctor will receive the records or a denial promptly. Our system will help you send in the request correctly, so it is not denied and you don't have to repeat it.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay has thousands of products, each of them designed to solve a particularly annoying or tedious problem. As our robot lawyer doesn't get bored or annoyed, let it help things like:
Check out our website to find out what else DoNotPay can help you with today.