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To the Editor.—
Cost containment is the medical care industry's rallying cry for the 1980s. Many suggested reforms threaten to shake the foundations of the American medical care system. I would like to make a plea to my fellow physicians to take one small step that will decrease costs through avoiding repetitive diagnostic tests while improving the care of our patients: respond as quickly as possible to requests for release of medical records.Patients often come to our offices with tales of multiple blood tests, ECGs, roentgenograms, and detailed examinations done by other physicians in the recent past. One can either repeat any necessary tests—a sure but very expensive way to get the needed information—or send off a request for records and hope they arrive within a few months.Teaching centers are often the worst offenders. I recently requested past records on a complicated obstetrical patient who had been cared
Phillips WR. Prompt Forwarding of Medical Records. JAMA. 1984;252(11):1408–1409. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350110014011
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