Taking Control of Your Medical Records


Leaving your health records solely in the hands of doctors and hospitals is a big mistake. This gives them too much power over your information and increases possibility for errors. When you are in control of your own records, you can give out information to specialists, for second opinions, and when shopping for affordable health care. Over 400,000 Americans die each year because of medical errors and doctors who cannot get the proper information. Electronic records makes it easier for the government and insurance companies to access patient information than for patients to access their own. Keeping your own medical records puts the patient in control of how their information is used. Here are five steps to help you obtain your records and improve well-being.

  1. Demand Your Data – Under federal law, you have the right to get copies of your medical records, and providers have 30 days to act. Even with this right, few patients have accessed their records, possibly because physicians haven’t told them they can or haven’t provided a way to do so.
  2. Get Organized – There are several software programs and mobile apps to create your own personal health records from the data you obtain. Patients can collect records for their whole family and keep it in one place.
  3. Share Information – Patients can share their data with whomever they choose without waiting for a doctor’s office to do it. Having your own records also removes the awkwardness of requesting your doctor to send data to another provider for a second opinion. Family members can access critical information about you in case of an emergency. There is even an app called ICEBlueButton where users can upload whatever information they choose and is accessible to paramedics.
  4. Generate Your Own Data – Wearable devices can record several health factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar which can be added to your own medical records.
  5. Protect Your Data – Keeping your own health records safe from loss or theft is a big responsibility. Protect all personal health records and medical apps with passwords and encrypt data when shared electronically.


Beck, Melinda. “How to Take Charge of Your Medical Records.” Health. The Wall Street Journal, 29 Jun 2015. Web. 29 Jun 2015.

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