Medical records are an important part of your healthcare history. They contain important information about your health, including diagnoses, treatments, and test results. However, with so much personal information contained in these records, it can be difficult to know how long you should keep medical records. In this blog post, we will reveal to you the details regarding how long you should keep your medical records in the US.
Why Keeping Medical Records A Good Idea?
There are several reasons why keeping medical records is a good idea. Some of them are:
- Accurate and up-to-date medical records help healthcare providers to make informed decisions about your care. This is particularly important if you visit multiple doctors or your medical history is complex.
- Medical records can help to track your health and identify patterns or trends over time. This can be helpful in identifying and managing any underlying health conditions or potential risks.
- Medical records can help in preventing misdiagnosis or errors in treatment. When healthcare providers have access to your complete medical history, they are more likely to make accurate diagnoses and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
- Medical records can provide important information in case of an emergency. If you are unconscious or unable to communicate, your previous medical records can provide vital information to healthcare providers about your medical history and allergies.
- Medical records can be very helpful in protecting your privacy and confidentiality. By keeping your medical records organized and secure, you can ensure that your personal health information is not shared with any unauthorized individual.
What Medical Records Should I Keep?
It’s always a good idea to keep track of all your medical records, as they can be helpful in managing your healthcare and in case of any legal proceedings. Here are all the medical records that you should consider keeping:
Personal Health Information:
This includes information about your medical history, allergies, medications, and any current or past health conditions.
Make sure to keep copies of any test results, such as blood tests, X-rays, or imaging scans.
Keep a record of all the vaccinations that you have taken. Your vaccination record will show which vaccines you have received and when.
Surgery and Hospitalization Records:
These records provide information about any surgeries or hospitalizations you have had, including the reason for the procedure, the date of the procedure, and any follow-up care instructions.
Primary Care Visits:
Keep medical records of any visits to your primary care provider, including the date of the visit, the reason for the visit, and any diagnoses or treatment recommendations.
Specialty Care Visits:
If you see a specialist, such as a cardiologist or a dermatologist, keep records of those visits as well.
Keep track of any prescription medications you are taking, including the name of the medication, the dosage, and the prescribing healthcare provider.
Keep copies of your insurance card and any documents related to your coverage, such as claims or explanation of benefits statements.
It’s also a good idea to keep a list of all your healthcare providers, including their names, specialties, and contact information. This can be helpful in coordinating your care and in finding new providers if necessary.
How Long Are Medical Records Kept In New York?
One thing you should know is that In the United States, there are no medical records retention laws by the federal that dictate how long you should keep medical records. Instead, each state has its own laws on the matter, and these laws can vary widely. Some states have no laws at all on the subject, while others have very specific requirements.
In New York, medical records must be kept for at least six years from the date of the last entry or from the date of the patient’s last visit, whichever is later. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
For instance, records related to minor patients must be kept until the patient reaches the age of 19. Additionally, records related to workers’ compensation cases must be kept for at least eighteen years.
It is important to keep track of your medical records for various reasons, including maintaining a record of your health history and treatment, as well as for potential legal or financial purposes. In the United States, the general rule is to keep medical records for at least five to seven years, although some states have longer retention periods.
It is always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider or attorney for guidance on how long to keep specific types of medical records. In any case, it is important to ensure that your medical records are stored safely and securely to protect your privacy.