[Skip to Navigation]
Comment & Response
September 2017

Benefits of Electronic Medical Record Banks

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(9):1398. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2716

To the Editor In a Viewpoint in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Jaspers et al1 note that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) requires “covered entities” (physician offices, hospitals, and health plans) to provide patients with a complete electronic copy of their medical record if the health care provider has their medical record in electronic form, which today almost all health care providers do. Furthermore, HIPAA mandates that an individual has a right to direct the covered entity to transmit the protected health information about the individual directly to another person or entity designated by the individual. For 10 years, the nonprofit Health Record Banking Alliance2 has been advocating for a consumer-controlled, unified, lifetime electronic health record. The model envisions that, after each visit, the health care provider sends a copy of the visit information to the patient’s medical record depository.3,4 The next health care provider can then turn to exactly one place for a consolidated medical record for the patient. The consumer can permit their medical record to be viewed by health care providers, family members, and even medical researchers if they so choose. Such a record bank promotes consumer engagement in their care, error correction, and data for population health management and research. Use of health record banks would avoid the need for patients to request either electronic or hardcopy versions of their records when moving or changing physicians.

Add or change institution