In the state of Illinois, health care providers own patients’ medical records. Although the health care provider owns a patient’s medical records, the patient has the right to obtain a copy of their medical record and amend it. In Illinois this is called the right to amend your medical record and is governed by Illinois law. A patient may add important information to their medical record to help doctors and hospitals in the future. It is important to note that the patient only has the right to obtain a copy and not the original medical record. (Source 1 & Source 3).
In order for a patient to amend their medical record they first need to obtain a copy of it. Depending on the health care provider that owns the patient’s medical records, there are different ways to obtain a copy of the medical record. Frequently, health care providers will require patients to submit a written form in order to obtain a copy of their medical record. Health care providers may be able to send a copy of the medical record via email or fax, however due to privacy concerns the medical providers will most likely send a paper copy via regular mail. (Source 1 & Source 2).
Once the medical record is obtained, the patient can request to add important medical information to it or attempt to have inaccurate information changed. Again, depending on the medical provider there are different procedures that may be required to amend the medical record. Most providers will have a form that needs to be filled out that requires the patient to give a reason for the request to amend. Once the medical provider receives the request, the medical provider can either approve the amendment or deny it. However, if the request is denied, the medical provider must provide an explanation as the why the request was denied and allow the patient the ability to include a short statement that explains their position. It is important to note that although patients have the ability to amend their medical records, patients do not have the ability to remove information from their medical records. (Source 1).
Amending medical records is an important ability that patients have. While not all patients will amend their medical records, all patients should know that they have the ability to do so if needed.