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Who Can Access Your Medical Records?

Posted on July 4, 2014

Access Your Medical RecordsMedical records are private documents that cannot be released to just anyone. Healthcare providers must follow strict guidelines regarding the release of these logs, and will only turn them over to specific individuals or organizations. In most cases, the patient will need to give permission for these files to be copied and sent via mail or electronically. Patients can obtain their own documents easily with the help of confidential services such as OrderMedicalRecords.com.

Patients Have Rights

The patient is the number one person who has the right to view his or her own medical records, other than the doctors and clinics that provided the care. Although medical providers own the original copies of healthcare records, they will send copies to the patients or designees as requested. For example, a married woman or man can give written consent so that her or his spouse can access hospital records. Parents can be granted permission if their adult kids, 18-years and older, sign documents giving them the okay. Also, if power of attorney has been granted, the person designated by the legal document can access the privileged information.

Protection Offers Privacy

Medical records are highly sensitive documents, so are kept under lock and key in order to protect patients. These logs contain private details about diagnoses, treatment plans, medications, hospitalizations, prescriptions, and family history. Making this information public without patients’ permission could lead to undesirable consequences. Once a patient is over the age of eighteen, he or she has the right to make choices about who gets to look at these documents, and who does not. For example, spouses can’t access each other’s records without written consent. Parents can’t look at their grown kids’ records unless their children have signed a release. Employers aren’t allowed to take a peek at workers’ healthcare information without permission, either.


Although medical documents are highly personal, they can be turned over to outsiders in certain situations. For example, if the records are needed for payment, treatment, or operations, they can be released.

  • Payment: An insurance company can request medical records if they’re needed to pay the physician or clinic that provided the services.
  • Treatment: If records are needed to provide appropriate treatment, they may be released in order to do so.
  • Operations: Review teams that are auditing clinical records can be granted access.
  • Legal Order: Legal orders, such as subpoenas, can mandate the release of medical documents.

It is a wise idea for patients to know their rights when it comes to healthcare records. Individuals have rights to obtain digital or copies, to have a say in who can or cannot view them, and to know what the records contain. When patients have access to their own records, they can ensure that all the information contained is accurate, which gives them better oversight. These documents can be obtained online from OrderMedicalRecords.com.

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