Is It Wrong to Look at Your Own Medical Info? - page 3

by jamonit

Hi everyone. Quick question...I work at the hospital where I recently had an MRI. Is it technically against most healthcare institutions' policy to pull up your own chart on your work computer and read lab or MRI reports? ... Read More


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    It's a violation where we work too... They tell us that they cross reference medical records and if anyone has accessed the file with the same last name then it will be a red flag and they look into it.

    Personally I think it's silly because they are our medical records. I usually just have a doc I'm working with pull them up under their name (she's also my OB) and if I want she'll print stuff off. That way it's not that big of a deal.

    We get an annual "physical" that is basically lab work done for free. But they can't let us have the results they have to send them to any doctor of your choice and we have to contact the doctor to see what the results are. The only time that I can say that I did look was when I was miscarrying (just suspected at the time) and had serial hcg's done. The office was already closed and I called my OB at home and she said "just look at what it is and I'll back you up" so I'm not sure if it would have gotten my fired or not but at the time I didn't care. Just wanted to know if my baby was okay.

    I also wanted to mention that I've never actually heard of anyone being terminated for such a thing... looking at someone elses record...yes, but not their own.
  2. 0
    We've had several employee terminations over HIPAA violations in the last several years. All but one were due to employees looking up their own info.

    Don't do it. Get on the phone w/your MD who ordered the MRI and hound him for the results, if you wish, but don't access your own records.
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    My hospital has a zero tolerance policy regarding medical records, even if it is yours. They terminate immediately, no questions asked.
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    Our key strokes are tracked and my hospital can look up exactly every single thing we look at/chart etc on our computers. We get one warning, then we get the boot.
  5. 0
    Quote from jamonit
    I'm thinking that seems to be pretty typical. I am just wanting to read my MRI report so badly...

    I have a mass on my knee and they did an MRI with contrast, last minute, at the suggestion of the radiologist on call, to see if my "tumor lights up with contrast." I wasn't scheduled for that part of the exam and I'm thinking they found something of concern.....

    I'm just really anxious to hear what I'm dealing with, worried about osteosarcoma.
    They do contrast with any kind of mass or infection, so I wouldn't worry too much. It may just be a cyst or something benign... they'd still do contrast for that.

    As far as looking up your own info, it is most definitely against HIPAA. I can't remember what the consequences are, but I would not be surprised if they included firing. You do have a right to look at your own medical record, but your doctor has the right to do so with you so he can answer questions and clarify things for you.
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    IMHO, it shouldn't be a HIPAA violation, since the party intended to be protected by HIPAA is you. I would think it would more accurately be considered a violation of your facility's HIPAA implementation policy; that is, there is a protocol for accessing and delivering health related information to patients and most likely, that policy doesn't include pulling up your own records.
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    Quote from canoehead
    In my hospital we can't look up our own files but we can walk over to medical records, sign a release of information, they look them up and hand them to us. So it's a pain, but you get the information in the end. This is only in theory- I've never tried them out.
    I have for all records everywhere, signed for my own records, refused to pay for them though (another day). It's correct, it's in your pocession and when I was misdiagnosed I was ready.

    Hope you hear good news!
  8. 0
    For insurance purposes I use the same lab where I work for my routine labs. I always look up my own labs. Last time I had an exam, I looked them up and copied them and brought to the doc the next day. I had access before he did, as the lab hadn't faxed the results to him yet.

    Perhaps I'm taking a risk, but surely my employer isn't going to fire a 15 year veteran for looking up his own labs. It's a risk I'm willing to take, HIPPA violation or not.

    I've never heard of anyone in my facility getting into any kind of trouble for this. I have heard of persons getting fired for looking up information in someone elses chart however.
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    Quote from mercyteapot
    IMHO, it shouldn't be a HIPAA violation, since the party intended to be protected by HIPAA is you. I would think it would more accurately be considered a violation of your facility's HIPAA implementation policy; that is, there is a protocol for accessing and delivering health related information to patients and most likely, that policy doesn't include pulling up your own records.
    I 100% agree.
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    People can get terminated for looking at records of patients that are not under their care. And you are not a legal patient under your care when it comes to looking at your records.

    Any time that you access any record on the hospital's computer system, there is a log kept of who had access to it. Not a good idea to see your name looking at your records.

    You may wish to check with HR before doing any more looking. Those records are actually those of the hospital, and unless you go to medical records and sign a release for them, then you should not be accessing them, they do not belong to you, even if you are the patient.
    sharona97 likes this.


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