Legal rights to access medical records of a patient have been established long ago, but if the patient has died, then how these rights will respond is always unknown.
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) says:
“Many Organizations still need to improve their processes for dealing with requests”.
ICO is also reviewing the websites of the organizations on which they provide information about accessing requests and plan to publish their observations in the coming years.
Keep reading the article to know more about how to look at your medical records through a third party lawyer
Patients are not permitted to keep their original medical records with them as they don’t own them. Data Protection Act 1998 says,
“Patients do not have the right to view their records and have copies of them”.
Who Will Make The Request Then?
Mostly, the patient should be the one to make a request to view medical records but he/she needs to confirm the identity by means of not violating the confidential terms and ensuring not to breach the organization’s confidentiality.
Moreover, on behalf of the patient if any third party requests to access the data (such as an attorney) they must be asked for an authority letter or any evidence that shows their authority to access the data instead of the patient itself. This may include the patient’s consent in writing or a power of attorney. If a parent submits a request to access the records of his/her child, then it is also mandatory to ask for the child’s consent.
There are limits for the access request as well and a person can be denied access due to the nature of it. For instance, the medical history is related to the mental or physical condition of a patient, which can cause harm to the patient or someone else, then requests to access such data will be denied. In these situations, it is suggested to first consult a doctor and add everything to the record. If a third party or the patient requests access later, then the record will be there to access. This will somewhere tell you how to look at your medical records through a third party lawyer for a safer process.
If any organization receives the access request, then it should respond in between 40 days or sooner. If you could not get their answer, then you should ask their helpline to make an access request again.
Charges for the Records
You will be charged between $60 to $70 for the paper/hard copies of your records and for the electronic records you can be charged $15-$20. It is for the organizations that they make sure about the charges they are offering for the copies of the patient’s records. Although it should remain free for the patients to examine and monitor their medical copies for any purpose.
Private And Confidential
If the representative or the patient wants to inspect the records, it is important to consider if the records are supervised by the administrator or any health professional in the organization to keep the confidentiality of the records safe.
How Much Information Can Be Shared?
It is a common practice between the organization to hide or dashed-out the names to protect confidentiality; if the records are accessed by a third party, until the consent from the patient or authority verification has been made. Treatment for the patient written by another health professional can be disclosed without disclosing the names of the professional. This is a complex process, which needs advice before making any access requests like these.
For the patients who cannot write or are disable, then it would be really hard to make an access request on behalf of them. A very reasonable adjustment would be needed to access the information for example, they may have to make a verbal request.
What Can You Get After Request?
After making a request, you should wait to collect the records. Here are the number of things you should ask for as a third party lawyer or as a patient.
- Surgical Reports
- Medical Reports
- Lab Test Results
- Initial Diagnosis
- Discharge Reports
Surgical operations and decisions are recorded and can be obtained for further consideration. If anything goes wrong during the case, these records will help you and your lawyer identify where the mistake was made.
Medical malpractice cases often happen; expert attorneys use medical history to review the negligence of your doctor.
When you get discharged from the hospital, your doctor recommends you some treatment to be continued for a while. These prescribed medications can also help in your case to find out what medications you were on.
Lab Test Result
Test results can also play a witness role in the court, as they are like tools for a doctor to diagnose your illness.
The initial diagnosis affects your care and life after. You will be needing your initial diagnosis report to know your subsequent illness.
A discharge report will likely be obtained because it will show the report of your situation when you left the hospital after the recovery and the medication.
After reading the article it is sure that you have the necessary information about how to look at your medical records through a third party lawyer.
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