OCR Encourage Patients to Get Copies of Their Health Data

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has introduced a new campaign to increase understanding of the right of patients to access their medical data and the advantages of doing this. The OCR called the campaign “Information is Powerful Medicine” and notifies patients regarding their right to acquire copies of their medical information and tells patients to “Get it. Check it. Use it.”

The advantages of having copies of health information are clear to patients. If they get copies of the medical data they could verify if their medical data are correct and request to amend if there are any errors. The ability to access health information assists patients in making better choices regarding their self care and talk about their wellness completely with their healthcare professionals. Along with their health information, patients can achieve more to remain healthful.

Patients are encouraged that the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits them to get a physical or digital copy of their medical information and that their healthcare provider must give the information 30 days from the date they requested it. It was mentioned that they might be billed a minimal fee for getting a copy of their medical information. Patients are likewise advised that copies of their medical information cannot be refused by their healthcare providers, even when there is an outstanding medical invoice.

Healthcare companies should motivate their patients to have more involvement in their own medical care and get copies of their medical records. OCR has created a variety of resources for healthcare companies to utilize for promoting this purpose, such as pamphlets, web ads, and posters. The HIPAA Right to Access Health Information resources from OCR may be obtained here.

Healthcare companies ought to make requesting copies of their health data as simple as possible for patients. In order to make the practice as simple as possible, patients can use the PHI request form developed by AHIMA. The request form allows healthcare providers to improve the request procedure and be sure all required details are provided by patients.