“Open Notes” Rule Gives Patients Control Over Their Health

medical records

Research shows when patients have access to their medical records, they are better able to manage their health, but getting access to see the detailed notes from your doctor’s appointments is often a challenge. That should be easier now thanks to the “open notes” rule, which went into effect April 5, 2021 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

The open notes rule expands the information health care providers must make accessible to patients and enables patients to download their electronic health records and health care data right to their smart phones—for free. The law seeks to give patients more control over their health care data so they can make informed health care decisions and better manage their care. The rule specifically requires access to eight (8) types of clinical notes:

  • Consultation notes
  • Discharge summary notes
  • History and physical
  • Imaging narratives
  • Laboratory report narratives
  • Pathology report narratives
  • Procedure notes
  • Progress notes

The rule aims to increase innovation and competition by fostering an ecosystem of new applications to provide patients with more choices in their health care. Patients should now be able to readily share this information with their health care providers, schools, workplaces, and even third-party smartphone apps.

It’s worth noting the rule has some limitations, and certain information may remain unavailable for patients or their caregivers. For example, if a health care provider feels that releasing specific information could cause harm to the patient or another person, that information may be blocked. The rule also does not apply to psychotherapy or mental health records.

I encourage everyone to take advantage of these rule changes to verify the accuracy of their records and, more importantly, to share this information with your other health care providers so you can take control of your health. If you have questions about obtaining your medical records or the care you received, contact Grewal Law PLLC’s medical malpractice team at (888) 211-5798 for a free consultation.

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