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Access to Medical Records in Canberra?

By dazzab - 16 January 2013 13

Does anyone here know anything factual regarding the rights and applicable law relating to patients obtaining their medical records?

What I want to know is if a patient can walk in to a medical practice and ask for their records to be handed over to them?

I could care less if they keep a copy but I’d like to know if it’s possible rather than the usual procedure of filling out forms to transfer them to another practice. 

TIA

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Access to Medical Records in Canberra?
Monomyth 3:59 pm 17 Jan 13

Assuming zorro29 is correct (no reason to doubt him/her) ask to see your records, take out your smartphone, and snap some pics. Avoid paying the fee.

Lookout Smithers 1:43 am 17 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

A_Cog said :

They (your medical records) don’t belong to you. They belong to the doctor.

Correct.
The doctor owns the intellectual property rights in that information (patient’s medical record)

A_Cog said :

No, you cannot walk into a practice and request your records. However, you have the right to access them.

Sort of.
You have the right to request them be disclosed to another medical practitioner.
But I’m not sure if the patients themselves are allowed to see it by default. Strange, I know, but that’s how it works.

Are you sure? That seems kind of ridiculous and especially where prescriptions have been given. I could go on and on. But anyway there are always grounds for non production of records and quite a many of them. And it differs again depending on who is requesting them and again if under 18 years old. But why would a practitioner have a problem with their patient seeing the records? Lake George is strange, and its not how it works at all. Access to health records is essential for consumers so they can research the treatments etc if they want to. And you have written like you are so certain too. That is strange.

Lookout Smithers 1:17 am 17 Jan 13

Well not quite that quickly but of course you can obtain copies of your records. Depends on the doctor and consultation as to what is on record. If the info you are looking for is in those records or not is another question. But in the ACT Under the Health Records Act, health records are required to be retained by the record keeper until Under the Health Records Act, health records are required to be retained by the record keeper until: if the consumer is under 18 years old when the information is collected, the day the consumer turns 25 years old; or if the consumer is an adult when the information is collected, seven years after the day a service was last provided to the consumer by the record keeper.or 7 years. It varies across different states. Public hospitals in NSW are required to hold them for 15 years. If you have ever been in Canberra hospital then the shorter the time they keep them the better.

goggles13 6:13 pm 16 Jan 13

register for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record at http://www.ehealth.gov.au and in the future you will have access to your medical records at any time.

poppy 6:04 pm 16 Jan 13

Doctors resist allowing patients to read their medical records because then you would read all the insulting and often irrelevant personal remarks they make like how fat you are, what a hypochondriac you are, all the mental problems they think you have, etc. Do you really want to read that stuff and why would you want your new doctor reading that you are an over anxious hypochondriac before you even walk in the door?

Jivrashia 3:02 pm 16 Jan 13

A_Cog said :

They (your medical records) don’t belong to you. They belong to the doctor.

Correct.
The doctor owns the intellectual property rights in that information (patient’s medical record)

A_Cog said :

No, you cannot walk into a practice and request your records. However, you have the right to access them.

Sort of.
You have the right to request them be disclosed to another medical practitioner.
But I’m not sure if the patients themselves are allowed to see it by default. Strange, I know, but that’s how it works.

beejay76 1:51 pm 16 Jan 13

Generally, yes. Although they will need time to photocopy everything, so I doubt you’d be able to walk in and walk out with them. But if you give them notice, and there are no extreme circumstances, it should be good to go. Some places charge a nominal handling fee for the photocopying, some places not so nominal.

Further info here: http://www.privacy.gov.au/faq/health/q5

Girt_Hindrance 1:49 pm 16 Jan 13

This is a start- the form explains how to go about it, dependent on what you’re after, including relevant phone numbers to call for advice/instruction

http://www.humanservices.gov.au/spw/customer/forms/resources/si031-1206en.pdf

A_Cog 1:45 pm 16 Jan 13

No, you cannot walk into a practice and request your records. They don’t belong to you. They belong to the doctor. However, you have the right to access them.

You don’t need FOI. Usually a verbal request will do, but the doctor/practice may ask that you provide a brief written request. Your right to access is covered under National Privacy Principle 6 in the Privacy Act 1988: http://www.privacy.gov.au/materials/types/infosheets/view/6583

Because your records are the property of the practice, you can request the practice to provide you with copies, but they can charge you for the work involved in photocopying them. From memory, Australian Medical Association guidelines advise that a reasonable maximum charge is $1 per page. Yeah, I know. Apparently, $300,000 a year isn’t enough, they screw you for access too. Read the AMA guideline here (relevant section is half-way down the page): https://ama.com.au/privacy-questions-and-answers

If you’re changing doctors, you can request they transfer your records. AMA guidance on this option is silent on costs but don’t take that to mean that a doctor or practice wouldn’t charge your new doctor: https://ama.com.au/transfer-medical-records

Lastly, “You do have legal rights to gain access to your health records from public and private health services and providers, although there are some limitations on those rights of access. If you’re having difficulty accessing or obtaining a copy of your health records, contact the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner (www.privacy.gov.au).”

Go get ’em, tiger. And tell us how you make out.

ToastFliesRED 1:36 pm 16 Jan 13

Health Records Privacy and Access Act 1997 http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1997-125/default.asp is the go

FOI only works for government held records if I recall right. Any issues with accessing at least a copy of your own records contact the Health Complaints Commissioner who is part of the ACT Human Rights Commission office http://www.hrc.act.gov.au/content.php/content.view/id/6

Hope this helps

kea 1:05 pm 16 Jan 13

No you can’t just walk in, they won’t just give them to you. Tried it. Apply to have them transfered or apply through FOI (Freedom Of Information)

snoopydoc 12:48 pm 16 Jan 13

The records are the property of the practice, however, they are obliged to not be obstructive; they must take reasonable steps to ensure that information in your records pertinent to the ongoing provision of health care for you is made available to you and/or your subsequent medical practitioner(s).

They are not required to hand over your records to you as is, but unless they’re particularly weird or paranoid, there is no reason they shouldn’t provide you with a copy if you ask.

zorro29 12:34 pm 16 Jan 13

recently had an issue with this so i do have some background.

a patient is ALWAYS able to view their medical records but whether you can take them is up to the medical practice and they seem to vary wildly in their practices here

some will say you can take a copy (at a fee), some will hand them over to you, some will transfer them to another medical practice, and some will say they remain their property

this all may change if the electronic filing goes through but, until then, you’re a little at the whim of the practice itself…but you do always have access to view them

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