I read Liz Kowalczyk’s article concerning control of medical records with increasing anger (“As records go online, clash over mental care privacy,” Page A1, June 21). In 40 years of practice in obstetrics and gynecology, it has always been my belief that the patient’s medical chart belongs to that patient. It appears that now the medical chart belongs to the medical provider and the insurance company.
To obtain medical care patients must now sign an agreement, prior to meeting the caregiver, releasing their medical records to the insurance company and the corporation of which their provider is a member. Patients voluntarily present themselves to the caregiver for diagnoses and treatment, but lose control of their records by mandate of these corporations.
Information given to the caregiver should be owned by the patient and held in confidence by the caregiver. Withholding that information might prevent proper care, yet patients may not wish to release certain private confidences to a corporate entity.
To ensure privacy, the medical record agreements we sign prior to being seen should be tailored to allow flexibility in the release of medical information so that patients feel free to confide in their caregivers.