How can a patient get his own records – who owns them?
A medical record, health record, or medical chart in general is a systematic documentation of a single patient's long-term individual medical history and care.
The term 'Medical record' is used both for the physical folder for each individual patient and for the body of information which comprises the total of each patient's health history. Medical records are intensely personal documents and there are many ethical and legal issues surrounding them such as the degree of third-party access and appropriate storage and disposal.
Although medical records are traditionally compiled and stored by health care providers, Personal Health Records (PHR) maintained by individual patients have become technically available and popular in recent years. This concept is supported by US national health administration entities and by, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Despite the ownership of any special data container (i.e. the actual file folder and paper, or in the case of digital - the time and equipment for transfer of file) and for any tool providing access to the health record (i.e. copy machines or computers), the proprietor and owner of the information is the patient himself. No clause in the service contract with the patient may countermand this proprietary ownership. However, many offices charge an access for copying the files and it can be a little as a few dollars for the actual charge for the use of the copy machine to fees ranging to more than $150.00 per file, depending upon the size of the file. MEDISCRIBE© does charge the patient or consumer a fee that is about $35.00 and $5.00 every time that it is accessed from someone that is not in the MEDISCRIBE© System.