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April 2017

Copy Fees and Limitation of Patients’ Access to Their Own Medical Records

Author Affiliations
  • 1Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Cox & Osowiecki, LLC, Hartford, Connecticut
  • 3Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 4Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):457-458. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8560

An elderly woman with a recent hospitalization wants a copy of her medical records. She may be moving closer to her children and wants to bring the records to her new physician. After finding the right person, completing the right forms, and walking to the right place to retrieve her records, she receives a bill for hundreds of dollars along with a paper medical record that seems poorly organized.

In this Viewpoint we tackle 2 questions: (1) Why is it so expensive to get a copy of one’s own paper medical record, and (2) how can the increasing availability of digital medical records improve this situation?

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