What is in your medical record?  

Each time you see a healthcare provider, your encounter (a visit, a phone call, etc.) generates health data about you. Your medical record documents these encounters with visit summaries, lab reports, x-rays, and clinician notes about your health.

If you receive your care in the US, you have the legal right to access your health records. And if you receive your care outside the US, most countries allow, encourage, and protect your right to get your own data. 

Why is getting your medical record important?

Activated & Engaged Patients Have Better Outcomes 

A doctor’s visit can be an overwhelming experience. It’s easy to forget what the doctor said (and most people forget nearly everything). By getting access to your medical record, you can review what was discussed during the visit, clarify anything you didn’t understand, and be better prepared for your next doctor’s appointment. 

Correcting any Errors in Your Records  

An activated and engaged patient is another set of eyes on the medical record, identifying and fixing errors to help make care safer. Clinicians are writing and reviewing thousands of records, but you’re reviewing just yours or your loved one’s. If you identify a clinically significant error, contact your health care provider about getting it fixed. 

More Coordinated Care: Be Ahead of the Curve  

If you see doctors in different healthcare systems, you may have seen how different EHRs (electronic health records), don’t always communicate seamlessly with one another. 

You may have experienced getting duplicate tests, or having to wait for a procedure until one hospital receives your medical record from another health system. If you have your medical record with you, you can reduce this information delay, and be your own champion for more coordinated and more accurate care. 

How do I get my medical record? (Or my family’s medical records?)

Ask Your Doctor about Signing up for a Patient Portal

In the US, patient portals are platforms, which give you access to your medical records, including visit summaries, medication lists, and at a growing number of health systems, even your doctor’s notes. 

Outside the US, many hospitals have patient portals where you can access your information. Even if your hospital doesn’t have a portal, ask your clinician about getting a copy of your or your family members’ records. You can still upload this information into Backpack.   

Your Backpack & Your Medical Records 

Backpack plans to integrate with EHRs and patient portals. In the future your health information from these sources will automatically sync into your Backpack. Our team is working hard to build this feature. 

In the meantime, you can be a champion for your health data by manually adding your information from your hospital’s patient portal or uploading your medical record files into Backpack. With Backpack, you can store your doctor’s instructions and visit summary as a file. You can also add your own notes to remember your personal takeaways from the visit.

By putting your health records in Backpack, you can take your data with you anywhere you choose to go - another provider, another state, or even another country!     

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