Skip to main content

About those medical records

Recently, I had some medical tests done in our local clinic. The clinic is moving to a paperless medical records system, and not until today, did I realize what this cost-saving measure insisted upon by our government may be costing us, the patients.

I asked for a copy of the results of the test, and the technician said, "I'd love to print that out for you, but I can't. It's all staying in the computer now."

All right--so someone saved some paper. Not all right--I don't "own" my medical records. The clinic does--in their computer. What if I change doctors? They can send those records electronically to another doctor, I'm sure. And that doctor will keep them in his or her clinic's computers. What will it take for me to have easy access to them? Just two years ago, I was able to walk into the clinic's medical records center and obtain paper copies of any and all of my medical records, so I could keep them in my files. It dawned on me today, with a cold chill, that these new totally computerized medical records, including my own, can be kept out of my reach in a whole new way. Will I be able to have them emailed to me, and by whom? Can I request a CD? Will I need to provide my own CD or pay for this service, including the CD?

It's no wonder that Franz Kafka was a surrealist writer, strange prophet, and an employee in the bureaucratic machine himself. I thought of him a few days ago when a number of his unpublished works came to light (and became part of an inheritance and rights fight). I thought of him again today, as I wondered what castle, what colony, what state might I have to enter in the future to put my hands on the pictures of my own being?


One can hope that their server can safely keep our records. Pull a plug and we cease to exist.
You can get copies of your medical records. Images are available on CD from hospitals and imaging centers. Doctor's notes are also available upon request.

If the records are for your personal information, there may be a fee. Customary: $10 per CD (which may have more than one image on it). $1 per page (ripoff!) of paper.

If the images or records are for another doctor to continue your care, they are traditionally free, and typically the Fedex charges are waived.

Getting everything emailed would surely be nicer, but isn't considered 'secure'. Truly a pain.
It would also be much better if electronic records could also be put on CD, because what would you do with paper copies? Scan them and put them into YOUR computer.

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Thank you, Press Women!

My blog won first place in personal blog writing for 2014 in the Press Women of Texas's Communications Contest. Afterward, my blog placed second in personal blog writing nationwide in the National Federation of Press Women's Communications Contest. I can't adequately tell you what these awards mean to me, but I feel impelled to try.
From the NFPW website:
On May 6, 1937, 39 women from seven states gathered at the Chicago Women's Club to turn their vision into reality. They formed the National Federation of Presswomen (yes, then it was one word) and set forth their goals: "To provide a means of communication between woman writers nationally; make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of national interest to press women, and otherwise advance the professional standards of press women."

It was brave enough for women to found such an organization in any decade prior to 1970, but this group was founded at the height of the Great Depression. It grew to …