Public Health

Who Owns Your Patient Records?

MedPage Today
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Who Owns Your Patient Records?

Who owns what and why

In this Medpage Today article, you'll learn about:

  • How differences in state law dictate ownership

" There are 21 states in which the law states that medical records are the property of the hospital or physician."

  • What HIPAA mandates for ownership

" The Department of Health and Human Services states that: “The Privacy Rule gives you, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of your medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and healthcare providers covered by the Privacy Rule….A provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the services you have received. "

  • What medical professionals think of ownership

" It seems both clinicians and patients have legitimate claims to the data within a medical record. One way to resolve the conflict is to invoke the “commons” principle, which refers to shared resources. Ruth Linden, PhD, president of Tree of Life Health Advocates, takes a similar view: “My view is that no one should own a patient's medical records per se because they are the joint construction of at least two parties: the physicians who craft patient notes and the patients whose symptoms; diagnoses; and most intimate thoughts, behavior, and fears are inscribed in them. "

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