How do I transfer old medical files to a new doctor?

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    Does anyone know what i have to do about past medical history? The last time i've been to the doctor was about 4 years ago and that was my pediatrician. I'm looking for a new doctor, do i go to an internalist or family doctor? Do i ask for my old files to be transferred? Who do i ask?
  2. 7 Comments so far...

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    Its your choice as far as internist vs. family doc--personal preference. Do you know the difference? Something to think about-- if you are female and are think you might want to have a baby at some point if you had a family doc you could use the same doc for your child as they care for newborns through geriatric and everything in between. So they can provide care for you and your whole family. Some people prefer their children to have a pediatrician for their child and an internist for themselves. I personally was not real familar with the family docs until I first got out of nursing school and worked in L&D for 6 months. I worked with family docs there. They would come in and be the doc delivering the baby and caring for the mom then once born they also were the doc for the baby. I really liked the ones I met. An internist isn't gonna deliver your baby or care for your child. Most won't even do a pap smear.
    It may depend too on who is available in your community and taking new patients. Ask around to friends for a referral of who is good and heck, who to avoid! lol
    As far as the records you need to figure out who your new doc is going to be then once you do you go to your pediatricians office and let them know and they will have you fill out a request for the transfer of files and have you sign for HIPAA. There should not be a charge as it is expected for all patients to transfer out of the practice once an adult. They will get your records to the new practice. (you will need the name of the, phone, address with you)
    Hope this helps.
    DC Collins likes this.
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    I tried the family doctor route one time and won't do that again. I thought the whole family could see one doctor but not when I have to wait 45-60 minutes past my appointment time to see him. I switched kids to a pediatrician who never makes me wait and can get me in for same day appointments. I see the CNP at my gyno office for my routine stuff since I am done with babies. Anything urgent I go to our immediate care clinic. Little different but works for me. As for records ask your new doctor and they should have a form requesting your old records to be sent to them by your old doc.
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    Many physicians will let you come in to see the practice & meet the doc before making a decision. I've used GP's, Internists, & family doctors. I have also met some family doctors that won't see young children under 8.

    Presently I have an awesome family practice physician. She sees both my son and me. Her office wait times are minimal (except on the walk-in/no appointment Saturdays where it is hit or miss). She works with 2 other family practice docs. We see our primary or one other. She does everything she can in her office but knows when something is out of her scope of practice & refers out to specialists. The only "issue" is that none of he physicians do inpatient care, they have the facility hospitalist (pedi or internal med) take over the hospital care. Though the benefit is that I am not limited choice of hospital and they even recommend the regional pediatric hospital in the next county. (Plus none of us has needed inpatient care in years, fortunately)

    Ask others who they would recommend (especially other nurses who interact with doctors on a daily basis). You can ask your friends & family who they use, then make your decision. Like the pp said, once you choose your new primary physician you can then fill out the release to get your records transferred.
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    Quote from italy
    Does anyone know what i have to do about past medical history? The last time i've been to the doctor was about 4 years ago and that was my pediatrician. I'm looking for a new doctor, do i go to an internalist or family doctor? Do i ask for my old files to be transferred? Who do i ask?
    It depends if the new dr wants you old records before your visit or not. If they do they decide where you are going to transfer to. Then go to your old office and ask them to transfer your records they will have you sign a release of records form, on that you will provide the new doctors information including name, address, phone, and fax.

    If your new doctor does not want/ need the information prior to your first visit then you can go to the new office and they will have you fill out (sign) a release of medical records form and fax it to the old doctor requesting that they send your information to them.

    By the way, doctors are required to hold records and not destroy them for a period up to 7 years from your last contact with them. However you said it was a pediatrician office. Pediatricians offices must hold it for this long from the time you turn 18, so they will still have your records, it may take them longer to have access the records though because if you are not an active patient they records may not be in the active patient filing if the office still uses paper records rather than electronic. I hope this helps. I worked in a family practice office prior to starting nursing school
    whereslilly likes this.
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    You can contact all doctors, hospitals, etc. through their medical records department and ask how you go about requesting copies of your file. They usually charge a per page fee. Then you can carry around your own file and show it to the doctors you see.
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    The type of doctor you see is entirely up to you. Different people want different things from their physicians. I've had luck by asking people I really trust for physician recommendations. As another poster noted, many practices will allow you to tour the facility and meet some of the staff before becoming a patient there. That can help you get a feel for the place and the staff - you can get a sense of whether you're comfortable there.

    You might want to inquire about policies or staffing matters that concern you. For instance - does the facility have same-day appointments for illness? Does it have any evening or early morning hours? Will you be seeing a physician each time or will you sometimes be assigned to see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant? (There are good and bad aspects to both possibilities: being seen by NPs and PAs usually means you can get in for an appointment in a timelier fashion, but you might have a harder time developing a relationship with a specific provider.) Will you have any online access to your medical records with the practice? Can you contact a physician or NP by email with questions or concerns? Is the practice associated with a larger hospital network? Is the practice considered in-network by your insurance company? Also, it never hurts to check on your prospective physician's background - you can look up details like date of graduation, medical school, and any formal actions taken against the physician through your state's licensing board website. You can search for and verify your prospective physician's board certifications (for free, though you'll have to register) through the website of the American Board of Medical Specialties: https://www.abms.org/

    As for your records, if you're going to see a new physician because of a specific health problem (as opposed to something like an annual checkup), it would probably be a good idea to have your records sent ahead once you choose the practice you want to use. Contact your pediatrician's office and ask for whoever handles their medical records requests. They'll have you sign a release form before they send the records anywhere. You should be able to fax it to them if you live outside the area, and some places will allow you to scan in the signed form and email it to them. If you have had any major surgeries or were hospitalized for any major illnesses, you might want to contact the hospital(s) where you received care to have those records sent on to the new physician as well. Ask for the hospital's health information management or medical records department. (In theory, most of your records from any hospitalizations should be in your chart from your old pediatrician's office, but theory and reality often differ quite a bit.)

    For the future, it might help to look into one of the personal health record (PHR) options that are available now. Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault are two good and free options that allow you to keep and organize your own health records; however, there are many different PHR options out there. Some PHRs will also automatically add in new data from sources like certain pharmacies, hospitals, and lab test companies, which is very useful. You can also do things like track weight loss or metrics from various health conditions (like blood sugar readings for diabetics), and measure your progress towards various goals you set. Some PHRs allow you to set them up so that your physician can access your data (obviously, this is something you would have to specifically set your PHR to allow). They can be very helpful in a lot of different ways. So that's just an idea for you to consider and research if you choose.

    I apologize for the length of my post. I hope at least some of it helps. Good luck to you!
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    You go to your new doctor, sign a consent for records transfer. They will fax the request for the records to your former physician and they will send the records to the new doctor.

    Now, as for the type of doctor, it really depends on your needs. A few young women I know use their gyn doctor as their PCP and the gyn doc takes care of all their needs. Over the years I have transitioned into a family practice environment where they basically take care of everything. This doctor oversees every aspect of my care and coordinates everything for me and for my husband as well.


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