Is it possible to view your own hospital medical records or does a physician or lawyer need to request the medical records?

Yes, you have a right to and can obtain and view your own medical records.  You will need to formally request the medical records from the facility.  Because of HIPPA, there is a legal process that is involved in obtaining your medical records.  There are times that patients want closure on what occurred with their family members during the hospital stay.  These family members may want to see what actually transpired rather than what was conveyed to them by the nurse or doctor.  Medical Legal Consults can assist you with what we call an Independent Record Review.

What is HIPPA?

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which in part regulates Protected Health Information (PHI). The goal of HIPPA is to ensure the privacy and security of our private health information.  Although HIPPA is designed to protect the patient, it does make it more cumbersome to get your medical records.  Medical Legal Consults can assist you with this process.

Most often this can be started by going to your hospital’s website and searching “medical records request”

  • You will typically be asked to download, print, and complete the form for authorization for the release of medical information. The authorization form must be signed and dated.
  • You will need to provide valid photo identification to confirm your authorization.
  • You may be able to submit your requests by mail, email, or fax.
  • Most facilities will comply within 5-10 days but HIPPA allows the facility 30 days with a single additional 30-day extension if requested by the facility.

Are you able to view your loved one’s medical records?

You are able to review your loved one’s medical records if you have permission from the patient or if you have the power of attorney for the patient.

How do you interpret the medical records?

Medical records are typically very cumbersome.  The longer the hospital stay, the more complex the process is.  It’s often difficult for a layperson or even a medical malpractice attorney to interpret the medical records and to see if there are concerning facts to the hospital case.  There can be millions of pieces of data some of which may or may not be significant such as the time of an event or a seemingly normal lab test.  Navigation of the paperwork and understanding what is relevant is the key to a successful chart review.

How can Medical Legal Consults Help you with your Medical Records?

At Medical Legal Consults, we can assist you in both obtaining and properly evaluating the records.  Dr. Paul Louis will personally review the records.  With over 20 years of experience as an Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Louis will be able to evaluate the records efficiently.  He is familiar with most of the common EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems such as Meditech, Cerner, and Medhost. With your request, Dr. Louis can provide you with a summary of the medical records.

Paul Louis, M.D. is a full-time practicing Emergency Medicine Physician and part-time blogger.