Your medical records contain a lot of private information about you. They include not only your name and date of birth, but the result of medical tests, treatments, medication, and any notes your doctor has made about you and your health. Not only that, but whenever your answer a doctor’s question such as “How are you feeling today?” that also goes into your record. It’s not just your primary physician that has a medical record on you. Every doctor and specialist you go to from a dentist to a psychiatrist has their own records.
How are Medical Records Handled
Before, medical records were actual physical pieces of paper, but now almost every doctor keeps an electronic version instead. This has made things much more simple, but also a lot more complicated. While it becomes much easier for doctor’s and specialists to communicate and share your record and their findings (no more fax machine fiascos). However, different programs and software among medical offices means that sometimes there are incompatibilities. However, there are steps being taken by the government to solve these common issues. Here is how.
How Do I Keep my Medical Records Secure
To keep your medical record secure, it’s important to gather your own copies of your medical records. The law gives patients the right to see, get copies of, and in some cases even change their medical records. It’s important to note that someone untrained to read medical records, especially test results such as blood work and x-rays, may not be able to fully understand them. Something that look significant can turn out to be nothing at all. Keep that in mind.
Once you’ve obtained copies of your medical records (either from your primary care doctor or from various specialists that you might have seen), make sure to keep them in a secure place like a fireproof safe. This will be necessary in case the worst are to happen. By keeping copies, you can keep a backup around in the rare case that something happens to your doctor’s copies. Also, if you change doctors it will be handy to be able to give them a copy of your medical records.
When it comes to medical record security, hospitals employ numerous encryption and security protocols to make sure that only doctors have access to the database of patient files. Most medical records are secured using 128 bit encryption which is universally acknowledged as impossible to break into for even the most modern computers. With that said, you can rest easy knowing that your personal information is safe from any prying eyes and that only you and your doctor know what’s contained in your medical records.