Getting Your Records After I'm Gone

I have started shredding all paper records 10 years after the last encounter. I understand that my state requires me to keep patient records for as little as 1 year after I close my practice, but the statute of limitations for malpractice suits is 3 years, so I plan to keep records at least that long.

A few years ago though I started keeping patient records in a cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR). Although I still keep a manila folder with a few paper items, progress notes and prescription records reside on a server somewhere in cyberspace. I do not possess them in the usual sense. The only purpose in deleting those digital files would be in the hope of reducing risk of unauthorized exposure.

Although I suspect an agreement specifies what happens to the EMR records after I close my practice I also suspect such agreements differ from vendor to vendor. The obvious value in accessibility of medical records argues for the EMR vendor to keep them indefinitely, and to make them available, though possibly for a fee, to the patient. In my opinion patients should have full access to their records now. Although my vendor does not provide such access I believe the ultimately will do so.

Would you want access to your own medical records indefinitely? How much would you pay to have the EMR vendor keep your records after I close my practice?

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