I read all the doctor’s notes and records on my online patient portal. I thought that was everything. Then I read this site and discovered that was not everything!
Next time I was waiting for my doctor, I said to the woman at the front desk, “Could you please give me a copy of the medical records and treatment notes from my last visit.”
She left for fifteen minutes and then came back and handed me a piece of paper and said, “Here’s your records.”
I looked at the paper and saw that it included notes from my doctor plus information on my last visit, but the top said: visit summary.
I said, “No, I want full medical records with all treatment notes.”
She sighed, then left for another ten minutes and came back with several more pieces of paper with a lot more notes from my doctor.
I read them right away and noticed immediately that something was inaccurate that might cause a problem for my case. At the doctor that day, I asked if he could correct the mistake, and he did.
Before I left that day, I asked the woman at the front desk for copies of all my medical records for the past five years. She had me fill out and sign a form.
After that, nothing happened. I called five more times, plus sent them $50. Then, one day, like magic, I got a big packet in the mail with all my records! But it only included records from my one doctor, not all the other doctors and lab tests he had refer me to.
Next up, I had to contact each of my specialists and hospitals and clinics. Each of those places also wanted me to sign a form and pay a fee.
I learned so much from reading my records. I learned which doctors supported me and which did not. I learned who was good at documenting symptoms and who was not. I learned that what the doctor says is not always the same as what the doctor writes. I learned some of the things I had been saying wrong, which confused my doctor or were not clear enough and wound up looking bad in my records.
Thank God I went the extra mile to get my real records. I never would have known.
“I was shocked to find out how bad many doctors are at taking accurate notes. Some said I was a Marine Biologist instead of Archaeologist.Some focused on my dynamic husband rather than my health and my life.
“I also learned that records I give a doctor are not safe. Some doctors die or retire suddenly and those records can be shredded, or lost before they are turned over despite how many times you request them. Doctors by HEPA laws are not able to turn over medical records of other doctors, even if you were the one to bring them in. Also hospitals are only required to keep records for a few years.” – Lolly Vann