Did you know that nearly 1 in 10 people who access their medical records request corrections to errors for a number of different reasons? This estimate from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology illustrates the importance of checking your medical records for potential errors that could lead to serious problems down the road.
Failing to correct errors in your medical records can result in devastating injuries or worse, according to a recent report from ABC News.
“I tell people, ‘Collect all your medical records, no matter what’ so you can ask all kinds of questions and be on the alert for errors,” Susan Sheridan, director of patient engagement with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, told ABC for its report.
What Can Go Wrong If Medical Records Are Incorrect?
In the worst cases of errors in medical records, mistakes such as an incorrect diagnosis, wrong scans, missing lab results, erroneous allergy information, and medication errors can lead to an incorrect medical evaluation and treatment. This can cause complications to current medical issues and allow the underlying medical problem to get even worse before the error is discovered and corrected. It can also lead to additional injuries or even death to patients when errors in medical records are not identified.
Even aspects of your medical records that do not pertain specifically to your medical history can cause problems for you and your medical treatment. Incorrect contact information, including address and phone number, could mean missing important test results or bills. The accidental addition of services provided in your records, such as a lab test, could cause problems if you want to contest your bill.
If errors in your medical records lead to significant and/or permanent injuries caused by your doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professionals, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice.
How to Correct Errors in Medical Records
Experts suggest requesting and reviewing your medical records with all of your doctors and other medical professionals to check for errors. If you do find errors in your records, you have recourse to fix the mistakes that could cause serious injury or death if not corrected.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows you the right to ask for a correction to errors in your medical records. Some doctor’s offices will have a form to fill out to request a change to errors in records.
For basic errors, such as an incorrect address or phone number, you can usually cross out the incorrect information and fill in the correct information. However, for more serious medical record errors, such as an incorrect diagnosis, allergies, or medications, you may need to include a description of the error and what the record should be corrected to reflect.
Under the law, doctors are required to respond to a request for error corrections in writing within 60 days. However, doctors do not have to accept the request. If your corrections request is denied, you can contest the decision with your state agency that licenses physicians.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you are the victim of medical malpractice in the Indianapolis area, the office of Baker & Gilchrist is here to help. Call our law firm or contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation of your case.