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Family Medical Records

Family Medical Records Introduction

The personal medical history, as recorded in the medical record, can play a central role in evaluating patients in a variety of medical settings, particularly in emergencies. When doctors evaluate patients for any medical issue or complaint, easy access to the medical history of the patient helps the doctor provide more efficient, accurate, and appropriate care and to minimize unnecessary and costly tests.

Having personal medical information readily available can be particularly important in the following situations:

  • During a visit to the emergency room
  • Going to urgent-care centers
  • Being evaluated before a surgery
  • Visiting a new doctor or a specialist for the first time

Having current personal and family medical records can be even more important for people who themselves are unable to provide their medical history adequately, such as children and the elderly.

With the advancement of electronic medical records (EMR) or electronic health records (EHR) in recent years, medical information is more easily accessible by health-care professionals. However, it is still important to carry one's own medical records. A few of the many reasons for this is the following:

  • Records from one hospital may not be accessible by another hospital.
  • Records from one medical office using one EMR system are not accessible from another medical office using different system.
  • Authorization for release of records is still required for obtaining medical records from another doctor's office or medical facility.
  • Lists of medications frequently change during outpatient clinic visits, which may not be available to another clinic or emergency room.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2014

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