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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 I thought of him a few days ago when a number of his unpublished works came to light (and became part of an inheritance and rights fight).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.

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