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Friday, April 13, 2012

To purge charts or not to purge charts?

By law a hospital or doctor's office only has to keep your medical records for seven years.  After seven years, it is up to the institution what they want to do with your records.  Some purge (delete or toss out) them, and others keep them forever.

National Jewish Health in Denver Colorado keeps records on file for 25 years, at which time they condense the chart.  My records for my six month stay there in 1985 would probably have come to thousands of pages, yet when I sent for them a few years ago I only got 25 pages. 

Personally, I think there should be some type of system whereby a person's medical records are stored in one location online and, with that person's permission, a hospital or doctor will have easy access to that information.  Although I understand why many would have reservations about this.

I think this would be nice, because there were medicines I had allergic reactions to when I was a kid that I have no idea what they are now.  I've also had tests to diagnose me with certain things, and there is no evidence of any of it. Last summer I needed to have surgery on my eye for the fourth time, and there was no record of my previous eye surgeries.  The doctor had to wing it.

Most medical records are burned or shredded, and all knowledge this way is lost.  This, I think, is not good.  The current system is not good, unless you have something to hide.

What do you think?


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