Medical Records

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    One thing I’ve discovered, unfortunately, when you ask for records to be sent elsewhere, they are not always sent. Nor are they always processed properly if sent. Nor can they always be sent electronically (sometimes they will only make hard copies). And don’t be surprised if records are not centralized but kept by each department, oncology, radiology, pathology, and that you have to talk with each individually to get copies.

    Message: Never take anything for granted. Best bet is to get your own copy. Upload them to the Cloud or wherever you can retrieve them from any location. Keep a copy on a flash drive. More work for you, but “if you want it done right, do it yourself”.

    I asked Mayo Clinic if they used a dropbox and they said “no”, doctors review the material just before the visit so there is no use sending it early.



    I kept a notebook on my mom that accompanied me whenever we had an appointment. I had sections for lab reports, places for radiology cds, HELPFUL PEOPLE and their phone numbers and titles, anything I could think of.

    I kept a section for lists of questions that occurred to me and printouts about her physicians.

    I also kept an excel spreadsheet with all of her meds, prescription numbers, who prescribed it and how often taken. I could keep this updated and just printed it out whenever we went for an appointment. It was correct and I could just hand the nurse the sheet for her chart. It saved lots of time and effort. (Can you tell I’m in the medical field???….lol)


    Wow, this is so helpful and timely. Jason, your filing system is nothing short of heroic.

    Thank you!


    Thank you Kris!


    You should be able to get all records by filling out a (usually) easy form. You can get printed copies and copies on disc of any scans, etc. I had to pay for some of mine (the paperwork was over 200 pages) but some places will do it for you by request. I don’t remember what I paid, but it was something like 5-10 cents a page. It might be a little more difficult since it’s been over a year, but it should still be available.


    My husband passed away July, 2011. I asked for a lot of our records during his illness but now my daughters are considering genetic testing. Is there a way for me to get his complete records from each place- family, oncologist, surgical? Thanks!


    Thank you, Rick.


    This is important information, which should be highlighted via a designated thread.
    Will reach out to Rick. Possibly he can move it.


    Very good idea to get a copy of your records. It makes getting additional opinions much easier.

    Some tips to consider:

    -copy the image CDs to a computer. I create a folder with an appropriate date / name (e.g. 2013 11 23 CT scan) on the computer and the copy everything on the CD over to that folder. You can then use that computer to make copies of the CD image files as needed.

    -Scan all the records into .pdf documents if you can. Again, I find a date / name format works well (e.g. 2013 11 23 CBC labs). Naming things by starting with the date will keep all your records in chronological order.

    -I get lab reports through the hospital website. Not sure if this is available at all hospitals. I print them out and then scan them.

    -DROPBOX – this was a great help. I copy all records / image files to a folder on dropbox. That way, I can get any record I need from any device (computer / phone / ipad / whatever) from anywhere.

    It is probably a bit of overkill, but it helps to get quick turnaround for 2nd opinions.



    Thanks for your responses – I followed your suggestions and, of course, they worked – I got the CD’s and sent them on to my daughter –
    I apologize for not acknowledging your very helpful posts sooner –


    Getting your radiology results and sometimes lab results means asking whoever did them. I know that with some hospitals and clinics those two things are actually outsourced to another provider and all your doc sees is the reports or looks online to see the actual film. And I know for labs at Providence where I work, you need to ask the lab for them since they are a contracted provider.
    I would ask your doc’s office or look at your Explanation of Benefits from your insurance to see who they paid for those. You may have to fill out a release for your medical records for them too but it’s easy.
    Also look at see if there is an online portal for your clinic. At Virginia Mason we are able to log on to our health record and print out labs. We still have to call and specifically ask for radiology.
    You probably will need to send the labs and radiology films/CD’s to get an opinion or they will have you come and do it with them.



    I have to ask for them specifically. The scans came on a separate cd. At our clinic I had to check the box that said X-rays and indicate what days the scans were done. The cd also included software to view the scans so I think they are burned separately from the othe medical records.


    I’ve recently obtained copies of my medical file from my oncologist and have sent them on to my daughter in Chicago – The file contained reports in connection with my two CT scans but did not contain actual CT scan CD’s so I’m wondering whether the medical file iis incomplete without them – I also noted the file did not contain blood and lab test results done each time I had chemo treatments –
    I”m wondering if the medical file is complete without that data – Also, I’d really appreciate it if someone could tell me how one might go about obtaining CT scan CD’s –
    I’m sure this is very basic information that everyone should know but, as I’ve indicated in past posts, I knew nothing about Cholangiocarcinoma or any other kind of cancer until I was diagnosed three months ago so I’m still struggling with learning the things I need to know!!!
    Thanks and God Bless –

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