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The Myth of Emergency Access to Medical Records

Consulting attorneys tell their physician clients to provide access to their patient records in emergencies, and HIPAA may allow information release in emergencies without the usual formal written authorization, but many emergency physicians, knowing the miserable odds of even making contact with the treating physician, will not even bother to attempt to contact them.

Many psychiatrists in particular do not make themselves available, even to their patients, on an emergency basis. Many physicians still maintain paper records locked in file cabinets at the office. You can only hope that, if the emergency physician does try to contact your treating physician, and succeeds, that your physician will have access to your record or remember critical details about your diagnosis and treatment.

Furthermore, physicians who no longer treat you, including those who have closed their practices, will probably destroy your records as early as 3 years after your last encounter. 

If you want to assure that an emergency physician can access critical information from your medical history, you must either obtain and keep those records yourself, or make sure that emergency physicians can access them from digital storage in the cloud.

































Professional liability (malpractice) risk management consultants often advise that physicians should be prepared to provide by telephone to other physicians treating information about patients they have treated to 

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you ended up in an emergency room and the physician there needed to know on an emergency basis details from your medical records maintained by your other providers?

HIPAA may allow such "emergency" release of protected health information without authorization by the patient.

Consider that emergency means minutes not hours or days. Can your physician access your records that quickly? Will she accurately recall critical details of your diagnosis or treatment?

But consider how  

Pt should own/control their own cloud rec.

What pvt pract MD will have that kiind of access? esp if dead or incapacitated.

Even physician on call, esp. if covering for another



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