Requesting your Medical Records: Why?

By AMANDA STROINEY, Clinical Operations Manager at Outcomes4Me

Combing through your medical records can be daunting. You can take my word for it - during my previous role as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana-Farber, I analyzed medical records ranging from 100 to 2,400+ pages! It is your right as a patient to have access to your complete medical records, and according to Consumer Reports, 80% of people who have access to their medical records thought it was useful. Still, you make ask: Why would I want a copy of my records? What would I do with them?

Having a copy of your medical records can be valuable for a couple of reasons. If you see a new provider or specialist, you will want to have a copy of your records handy so that medical records processing doesn’t delay your care. If you are screening for a clinical trial, you may need your records to determine eligibility for a clinical trial. You may have some of your medical information in an online portal from your doctor’s office. However, patient portals typically don’t share provider notes or give you a comprehensive view at your labs, vitals, and medical history documentation. In addition, it is important to have access to your complete medical information so that you can keep track of your treatment and medical history. Having documentation from your doctor can help you remember everything from which medications you are currently on to how many cycles of a certain treatment you went through. 

At Outcomes4Me, one of my jobs as the Clinical Operations Manager is to request your medical records and help you understand them. Our medical records retrieval process is HIPAA-compliant and often takes less than 30 days to retrieve for you. In addition to your medical records, you receive a comprehensive medical summary where you can view your treatment history, side effects, medications, and important oncology details. While this information doesn’t replace the advice and recommendations from your doctor, my hope is that having access to your complete medical information will help you in your journey as a breast cancer patient.

You can request your records through the Outcomes4Me app. If you are logging into an existing account, go to the profile tab and click on “Medical Records”. Stay tuned for my next blog, which will talk about different sections of your medical record and what kind of things you should be looking for within the record when you receive them.