Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Definition of Chutzpah

Not making this up:

I saw a patient with palpitations and a rapid heartbeat. She had been treated for Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome several years ago with a successful ablation, but stated that the present symptoms were very similar. So I sent her back to the very same cardiologist she had seen previously. Here's the opening to the letter I got back:
...Our records on this patient have been purged, and we have requested records that may have been transferred to you from our office concerning her past cardiac history.
That's right. I have to send them copies of THEIR OWN RECORDS. Sort of like:
We can't be bothered to maintain patient information, so please act as a storage and retrieval facility for us.


At Fri Jun 22, 09:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that means that when they say a patient should keep personal copies of important records, they really should?

At Fri Jun 22, 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember, document retention policies are really document destruction policies. If you don't have records, they can't be discovered in a lawsuit. Sad, isn't it?

At Fri Jun 22, 02:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find anything abnormal in purging the PAPER records of a former patient. How many years have passed since her last visit at that cardiologist?

To put it differently: how long would YOU keep the paper records of a former patient? And the electronic ones?

At Fri Jun 22, 03:26:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

So far, I've kept all my records (back to 1989, when I opened my practice.) The patient was last seen my them about 10 years ago, so yes, they're within their rights to destroy records more than 7 years old (of adult patients; in pediatrics I believe it's to age 21 + 7 years more, possibly.) Still, if they're going to destroy the records then they need to take the responsibility of repeating the workup. (Hm...) I still resent being treated as a storage/retrieval facility.

At Fri Jun 22, 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear that.

It's very annoying having someone who should have the records in front of them ask you what's going on with person X. It makes me want to reach through the phone and throttle whomever is responsible.

Granted, I don't have to fax over potentially 20-100 pages of information, but it's still disconcerting.

At Fri Jun 22, 07:40:00 PM, Blogger MedStudentWife said...

what the ..( I wont use the nasty F** word) !!!!

At Sun Jun 24, 02:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a consultant, I find it even worse when I request updated records on a patient and they fax back my own reports. WTF?

At Mon Jun 25, 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Lynn Price said...

I asked a doctor for a copy of my records and they refused to give them to me. My reasoning was that in case my files were lost or accidentally destroyed, I'd have a copy on hand, and I was willing to pay the copy fees.

They informed me they don't make mistakes with patient records. Needless to say, I got a new doc, and they gave me a copy of my records sent over from my previous doc! It's like my own records are like the national secret. Geez.


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