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Patient’s Right of Access

This week we had a question submitted to us asking about the patient’s right to access their medical records. A patient contacted their medical provider asking for a recording of a conversation that took place between a nurse and a State employee. The patient said under HIPAA they are entitled to a copy of that recording. The recordings are used for the internal needs of their organization, and are not included in the patient chart.

Under HIPAA, what information does the patient have access to?  Does the patient have a right to the recording?

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities are required to provide individuals with access to protected health information in their “designated record set” about themselves.  HIPAA provides all individuals with the right to access their PHI maintained in a designated record set by their health care providers who create or receive their PHI.

A “designated record set” contains information utilized and maintained for the purpose of making decisions about an individual’s health care. Patients have the right to access PHI used to make decisions about them, including, for example, information upon which health care decisions are based and information to determine payment.  Information maintained, but not used to make decisions about the patient, falls outside the designated record set and is exempt from access.

Under HIPAA, the recording the patient is asking for would be exempt from access. The provider would not be expected to provide a copy of the recording to the patient.

If you have any questions about “designated record sets” or a patient’s right of access, please do not hesitate to contact one of our professional consultants.

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