Who's In Charge of Your Medical Records? You Are!

An important step in preparing for a lifetime of better health is to be the keeper of your and your family's medical records. By federal law, you have a right to receive a copy of your records. And there are so many possible benefits of having your up-to-date records in one place, including avoiding inaccurate and incomplete diagnostics, harmful drug interactions, and duplicative testing — all things that put you at risk of medical error.

To Collect Your Medical Records: 

• Call the offices of the doctors you have seen over the years, and request that a copy of your records be mailed to you or be prepared for pick up. 

• Organize your records in a binder, so you can share them with your current and future physicians

• If you have numerous doctors to call and feel overwhelmed by the process, just pick up the phone and start somewhere. Remember the old saw: Mile by mile takes a while, yard by yard is not so hard, but inch by inch is a cinch.

Here is a helpful worksheet that can get you started. 

See The Patient’s Playbook, Chapter Three: "Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Better Prepared" for specific guidance on collecting your medical records. The new paperback edition of The Patient's Playbook also includes a step-by-step description of how to organize to your binder!