How quickly can I get my health records once I request them?

Provider compliance with updates to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Omnibus Final Rule, which went into effect in September 2013, was a major step forward in patient engagement. The rule’s updates make it easier and cheaper for people to obtain copies of their health records, request changes and give consent as to how their health information is used by a provider.

While the older Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) rules gave providers anywhere from 30 to 60 days to respond to a person’s release of information request, HITECH’s updates to HIPAA attempt to streamline the process.

HITECH says that people should be given their health records within 72 hours. That’s a lot tighter and consistent with consumer expectations in a digital age. These changes are necessary to steer healthcare away from the days of doctor-knows-best and toward a more patient-centered healthcare system where patients play a role in their health -- and use their health information to improve their care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.