Request medical records in digital format (disc,usb thumb drive)

I was wondering what problems there may be in having a copy of my medical records transferred to a non paper format.

As in todays world, the simple and easy method for a lot of us, is working with paperless formats.Digital,on computer,tablet,on usb thumb drives or on discs that we can carry around, easily transfer and print out that data when we need to without having to carry around paper copies.

So really, my question should be, or there any ico,gmc etc inplace to handle a patient that wants their data on a format other than paper.

The costs should also be negligible if the patient is supplying the discs, usb thumb drive.

11 Replies

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  • I did note one section from the ICO website which states "There are special rules that apply to fees for PAPER BASED health records (the maximum fee is currently £50)"

    Does that define those held on paper or a person that wants their records on paper?

  • Where does one apply for medical records ? Is it GP surgery or Local health Service board ?

  • Technically you make a request to the Data Controller of the organisation that holds the records. That is, there will be a nominated person at your GP surgery, and another at your local hospital. And so on.

    The items that are your full record could be spread over many organisations depending on your history.

    It almost certainly makes sense for you to start with your GP surgery - what they have might cover what you need, or identify where else to ask.

  • I requested all mine and they came on disc. Cost £50 for entire history.

  • Hopefully you will be able to access it all online?

  • it really depends if the GP surgery and the various hospitals that have treated you have digitalised ALL your records. A lot haven't so while newer records are on computer some old records are only available on paper.

    There is nothing stopping you once you have your paper records scanning the sheets in and digitalising them yourself however you may need to convert them to different formats so they can still be read in years to come. As some of the document formats used get obsolete an example of this is the various MS office formats over the years.

  • If you provide a usb or other media I can't see a problem.

  • Most doctors will routinely summarise patient records every so often. So even though they hold a full paper record going back to birth if nothing has been lost, your computerised record will have been summarised when you last changed doctors, or at some point in the last ten or so years. Pre-summary records are archived, but they are not easy to access for the average GP surgery.

    Its also rare for practices to scan old notes/letters/results from pre-computerised times.

    Finally there may be compatibility issues. Not all systems will spit things out in a format that you can read on a PC. These are highly complex relational databases, and they don't lend themselves easily to converting to Access! In fact when I last worked in NHS data services different systems were still having trouble talking to each other - so it was routine for a paper printout of patient notes to be sent to the new practice when a patient moved. Of course the software houses were claiming to be working on that, but I doubt if it is a high priority.

    I recently asked for a printout of my last two years notes for insurance purposes. I got reams of paper, but not the letters, paper results or Xrays - just the doctor's interpretation of it. I didn't want an electronic report, but I doubt if it would have been any more comprehensive if I had.

  • I recently ordered my records from the hospital. It was an arduous journey getting hold of them, the whole system seemed to be set up to make patients give up. Requests and cheques kept getting lost, and it seemed as if there wasn't anyone whose job it was to do the task.

    So I doubt they would do anything special to help you out. You're kind of lucky to get whatever you get.

  • biscuitbouy11 Call hospital or gp surgery with request to see your notes human resources in these departments will advice you of the data protection form you are required to submit. I did this for NHS & there are a couple of options available in the hospital setting. I can't advice the process within your gp setting as I wanted hospital case notes only but it's all one NHS so think be very similar. You can have your hospital records in a private room with a clerical officer & you can go through your notes & write down any information from your records, I did this as first step & there is no cost involved. The clerical officer was very unobtrusive & there was no time pressure. The clerical officer was really helpful & she advised next steps of obtaining the notes as having seen the content in the notes I wanted my own copy of these to go through at home. Complete copy of the notes £10 for CD & £50 for complete paper copy. I chose the CD & I had this later the same day. All the health professionals who have written in your notes do not know you have requested a copy of these so be reassured you are not ruffling any feathers regarding continuation of your care & it is huge advantage when you see these people that you have accurate information & can challenge any discrepancy from what they say & how this corralates with the information you now pocess. Definitely an advantage having these Good Luck Yx

  • biscuitbouy11 If your doctor decides it's not in your best interest to see your notes they can refuse after all these are only YOUR notes. Sorry I don't know next action in that scenario

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