Understanding how to access, share and protect your medical records
Most people don’t give much thought to their medical records. For instance, they might not know they typically contain a combination of things like doctors’ notes, signed consent forms, insurance information, lab results and immunizations.
But there is one aspect of these records that Health Information Management Director Hugo Garcia, RHIA, wants people to understand. “The information contained in these records belongs to the patient,” he says.“To a large extent, the patient has control over this information and gets to decide, in writing, who is permitted to access their records and what they are allowed to see.”
That’s thanks, in part, to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. HIPAA established laws designed to protect the privacy of personal health information. “Patients might be confused when they hear the term HIPAA, because there is a lot to this act,” says Garcia. “I think what they need to walk away with is that HIPAA was established for their protection. It’s in place to protect their privacy.”
HIPAA was also enacted to help facilitate the flow of medical information. “That’s something we call the continuum of care,” says the HIM Director. “If, for instance, a patient is going to their doctor’s office and wants us to share their hospital records with that office, they simply give us authorization for that to happen,” he adds. “Once we receive the authorization, we can provide the requested records.”
In addition to sharing health information with other providers, Doctors Hospital also makes it easy for patients to view their own records to see things like test results. “Health Records Online is a secure patient portal that gives patients easy access to things like lab results and radiology reports,” says Garcia. “If patients want their full medical records, they can come to the facility and we’ll provide them.”
Health Records Online
Health Records Online is a secure patient portal from Doctors Hospital of Laredo that lets you view your medical records online at any time using your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Learn more about Health Records Online