How Long Do Hospitals Keep Our Medical Records?
Medical records are an important aspect of healthcare all around the world, as they help physicians and other healthcare staff stay on the same page about a patient's condition over time. These days, medical records are stored electronically and can be sent from one provider to another in just a few minutes. If you need to access medical records from the distant past, you might wonder .
The answer is not as straightforward as it may seem initially, as rules and regulations vary by state. To learn more about how long hospitals keep medical records, and how DoNotPay can help you access them more easily than ever, read on.
How Long Are Medical Records Kept After Death or Discharge?
As mentioned above, each state has different laws regarding how long medical records must legally be kept within a system. Hospitals can, of course, keep records longer than this minimum guideline, though they are unlikely to do so due to budget and digital storage constraints.
In Wisconsin, for example, medical institutions must keep records for patients for at least five years after the date of payment, while rural clinics must keep records for at least six years. Other states, like Connecticut, require healthcare centers to keep records for at least seven years from the last date of treatment, or at least three years after a patient's death.
Despite all of the differences among states, a good rule of thumb is that hospitals must keep medical records on hand for at after discharge or death. To learn how long your state requires hospitals to keep records, you can reach out to your clinic or find that information on your state's medical board website.
Medical Records/Documents You Should Be Holding on to at Home
|Prescription Information||This document should follow you for life. This will list down all of those prescriptions you are allergic to hence keeping this document is important as it will help you with your insurance claims. This document will also serve as a guide to help other doctors know what your long-term medications are, the doses you need which will help with your refills.|
|Specific Medical Histories||This document will list down all of those tiny incidents up to your major illnesses. It's well-detailed, so much so that there’s no real reason for you to keep it or if doctors would even allow you to have a copy of it. But if you’re facing something specific like cancer or serious heart problems, then try to keep every single document on those.|
|Health Insurance Information||These are important documents that you should have a copy of at home. This will help make the process of insurance claims or reimbursements so much easier. If there’s ever an issue to arise you would have physical proof to back you up.|
|Contact Information||Keeping a file of all of the doctors you had will always be a good idea as this will give you a way to contact them in case of emergencies or if you are unsure of the prescription you’ve been recommended with by a different doctor.|
Getting Access to Your Medical Records on Your Own
To get your medical records on your own, you can likely do so by using your hospital's or clinic's online portal. When enrolling new patients, many healthcare facilities will give you a login, so that you can request appointments, view charts, and ask questions online. Most portals can also help you access your medical records by following these steps:
- Log into your online portal, or create a new account
- Locate a "request medical records" option
- Fill out the online form as completely as possible, including which records you specifically need
- Submit your request
Electronic records usually don't take too long to access, and some portals may even let you get them immediately. If you requested printed copies to be mailed to you, it can take several business days. If you don't have access to an online portal, you can submit a written request for your medical records by including the following patient information:
- Contact information, like email address, street address, and phone number
- Date of birth
- Member ID from hospital system
- Social security number
- Records requested
- Method of delivery
If you don't include all of these components in your written request, your request may be denied, or it may take far longer to get the records you need. Requesting records, whether online or in writing can be confusing and overwhelming, and you may not know exactly what to do with them once you receive them. Fortunately, DoNotPay offers a far better solution for obtaining records that is fast, easy, and secure.
How to Gain Access to Medical Records Using DoNotPay
If you need to get your medical records for whatever reason like you have a new provider or you are seeing a specialist out of network, the easiest way to do so by far is with DoNotPay. It takes only a few minutes of your time to fill out our form, and we'll do the rest of the work for you. Simply follow these three easy steps:
- 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.
From there, you can sit back and relax knowing that DoNotPay is working to get your medical records on your behalf in a timely manner. Instead of worrying about how you'll get access to your records, you can focus on the other, more important tasks you must complete.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay, the world's first robot lawyer, was designed to help people like you get more done with less time and effort. Besides helping you access your medical records, we can also assist you with:
- Locating birth certificates
- Getting advance healthcare directives
- Requesting sick leave
- Finding missing money
- Connecting with prisoners
- Filing a formal complaint
- Getting cash back for gift cards
Stop feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, and let DoNotPay handle some of the most difficult and mundane tasks you've been putting off for weeks or even months. Visit DoNotPay today to see how we can help you!