There is much discussion today about the concept of a “Comprehensive Health Record”. This is an extension of the traditional terminology of “Electronic Health Records (EHR), Electronic Medical Records and Personal Health Records. At ISeeYouCare, we support the concept of a Comprehensive Health Record (CHR). Furthermore, we see it as true to the original concept of electronic health records.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) was made law on August 21, 1996. Before this date, there was no federal right for patients to be given access to their medical records. State laws governed access to this critical information and varied widely. Patients would have to show “good cause” to view these records in some states and lawsuits required in others to establish access on a patient-by-patient basis. Consequently, under HIPAA, health care providers must provide copies of medical records (with some exceptions).
Benefits of a Comprehensive Health Record
There are many reasons for a patient to manage and maintain their own comprehensive health record.
- Obtaining medical records from hospital systems and disparate providers can take a great deal of time. Often, patients need information in a timely manner, due to an emergency or a new diagnosis. The delay in getting information is frustrating and can be deadly in case of an emergency.
- Health care providers do not have to keep your records forever. The requirements vary from state-to-state, but in general, most do not have to maintain records beyond ten years.
- Maintaining a full longitudinal record of your health improves care coordination and promotes easier sharing of information with family and caregivers.
- Having full copies of your medical records with accurate information makes it easier to connect with other patients or conduct research online so you have a better understanding of any health concerns.
- You can save costs by providing doctors with results of tests and procedures performed by other organizations.
- It helps you make sure that your health information is accurate.