Knowledge Library

Patient Rights of Access to Medical Information

Much of the discussion around patient privacy and confidentiality centers around appropriately restricting and securing access to protected health information, and this is for good reason- threats such as data breaches and cyber attacks often dominate the news, and medical practices are understandably concerned about the risks of litigation and bad publicity associated with privacy violations.    It is important, however, to remember that patients have the right to access, and in some cases to direct others to access, their medical information in a timely fashion and at a reasonable cost.  Providers own their physical records, but patients increasingly expect to have the ability to exercise their legal rights to the information contained in those records.  Laws pertaining to medical...

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How Long Should We Keep Medical Records?

One of the most common questions asked of MIEC’s Patient Safety & Risk Management Department is how long physicians should maintain their medical records after a patient leaves the practice, or upon retirement. While many might assume that there are clear laws and regulations around this issue, in fact there are few laws that address it (please see the table below for information on state laws). MIEC’s recommendations are as follows:   What Attorneys Advise “Keep medical records forever.” This is the advice of many malpractice defense attorneys, because in the event of a medical malpractice claim, the medical records...

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