My Own Medical Records

Take control of your health and well-being Exercise your
right to your medical record.

GET IT

Intro

How does this work

This is a guide to the steps and tools you’ll need to access, acquire, and use your medical records how you want.

What is Your Medical Record?

A medical record are documents that contain a person’s complete medical history, including health care provider notes from appointments, treatments you've received, prescriptions, tests and their results, and vaccinations.

FACT: You are Entitled to Your Medical Record

According to federal law, you have a right to access and acquire a copy of your medical record from almost anyone who has provided you medical care, including clinics, insurance companies, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, and nursing homes.

If you’ve been cared for by several doctors in several places, it can sometimes be difficult to get your medical record, as each one may have a different process for granting access to and acquiring it.

How do we help?

My Own Medical Records is here to assist you through the process of getting your medical record. We’ll demonstrate how to:

Acquire your record - Steps for accessing your medical record

Organize your record - Sort through your record and create a "summary" of your record

Control your record - How you can use, share, and oversee your medical record

Step 1 :

Acquire It

Take control of your health and well-being -- exercise your right to your medical record.

Having access to your medical record makes it easier to:

Distribute critical health information with your family members, a new doctor, a new medical team or whoever else you choose.

Be able to check that your records are current and correct

Share your medical information, such as vaccination records, with work, schools, etc.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION

QIf I care for my child, a family member, or another adult, can I access their medical record?

A You can! In fact, the process is essentially the same as getting your own medical record. You have the right to access someone else’s records if you have a medical power of attorney -- a legal paperwork that allows you to make medical decisions for another person. Under HIPAA, a person who can legally make medical decisions for someone else is referred to as a personal representative. However, if you are not a personal representative, the person you care for can simply request your access to their medical record from their provider.

STEP 2:

Begin with Creating an account:

A good place to start is to create an account, sign our e-HIPAA waiver and tell us where to get your records. We will then obtain your records for you and organize them for you

Check their website: Information regarding how to acquire your medical record is often listed under the Contact Us section of a provider’s website. Under the section, it may direct you to a phone number, an email address, an online portal, or a form.

Call or visit: Call or visit your provider or doctor and ask them directly how you can acquire your medical record. Be sure to ask for the health information services department or the administrative staff in charge of releasing health records.

Have you accessed your provider’s online patient portal?

Approximately 8 in 10 individuals who used their online patient portal found it helpful and easy to understand. Source: ONC Data Brief 40 [PDF - 1.7 MB]

TROUBLESHOOTING TIP #1

You are entitled to your medical record

If your provider claims that they cannot provide you with access to your medical record due to HIPAA, you can tell them that both HIPAA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) require that they administer you access to your own records. This is your right, protected under the law.

Step 3:

What should I ask for?

Medical records can be exhaustive sometimes, therefore, knowing which part of the record you’re looking for is crucial. Be sure to ask your doctor or the person handling the health records at your provider’s office for help if you are unsure.

Full record: In instance in which you would want a full medical record, is if you have switched to a new primary care doctor or health insurance plan. However, you may simply want a copy for your own use.

Partial record: If you are only looking to share limited or specific medical information with new doctors or others, a partial record is what you need. You can request partial records for things, such as:

Allergy information

Medications

Immunization records

Clinical notes from a specific visit

Test results

X-rays

TROUBLESHOOTING TIP #2

Know your doctor’s or provider’s contact information

In order to acquire your medical record, it is imperative that you have the full names, addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers or secure emails (via their patient portal) of all the doctors and providers that are sending and receiving your medical record.

Step 4:

How will the records be delivered?

The records will come to us and we will organize them into your own medical record! You can then decide whom to share the records with.


What format do I want?

While electronic formats are the easiest to update and share and often take up the least amount of space, several formats are available, and you should choose the format that works the best for you. The formats most frequently offered are:

Structured data (data read by your computer or a smartphone app)

Text file (such as a Word document)

PDF

Paper

If you are sharing your record with a new health care provider, be sure to ask which format they need as different offices require different formats.

How many copies should I get?

While an electronic copy allows you to distribute your medical record as needed, paper copies require that you determine how many you will need.

Personal use: You may only need to acquire one copy if it is simply for your personal use.

Care providers: However, if you are sharing this information with family, a personal representative, or a care team, you may need to request a copy for each person or office.

Filling out a medical (or health) record release form

While each medical release form varies in organization, below are some questions you are likely to encounter.

Whose medical records are being requested? Include their full name, date of birth, PIN (patient identification number), or MRN (medical record number). (PINs and MRNs are assigned by the patient’s provider. Consult your provider if you are unsure of your number.)
Who has the information you are looking for? Include the full name, address, phone number, and secure fax or secure email address of any health care provider or facility containing the patient’s medical records.
When was this care received? It can range from any single day, to a range of days, or even years. Consult your doctor about which dates are needed if you are unsure.
Where is the information being sent? Include the name of the person, physician, facility, or company the records are sent to, along with their contact information. If records are being sent to more than 1 person or facility, including yourself, a separate request may be required, so be sure to communicate with your provider regarding what they need.