When a patient transfers from one healthcare provider to another, their electronic medical records must be transferred as well. For physicians, this can be a complicated process.

What if the patient has records from a previous provider? Can a physician release another physician’s records? If one physician transfers another physician’s records, are they still following HIPAA guidelines?

These are all common questions we hear from healthcare providers, and we at Desert River Solutions are here to offer some guidance. In this article, we will explain the different situations in which a physician may need to transfer another physician’s records, and how you can do so while following HIPAA guidelines.

How Can a Physician Release Another Physician’s Records?

A physician can transfer a patient’s medical records and healthcare information to another physician if they follow the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule

The HIPAA Privacy Rule lays out guidelines for transferring records, including specific protections for patient privacy, as well as the conditions and limitations on the uses and disclosures that can be made with patient records without their authorization. It states that any healthcare provider who is a covered entity can disclose a patient’s complete medical record, including information from another provider, as long as the disclosure is permissible under the conditions covered in the Privacy Rule.

Most commonly, the Privacy Rule applies to treatment. For example, if a patient has been in the hospital, but will require ongoing care at another facility in the future, the physician at the hospital can release the patient’s records to another physician without the patient’s approval.

The Privacy Rule also applies to patient requests for records or record transfers. In this case, a physician may release that patient’s records, including records from previous providers, to the patient themself or transfer it directly to their new provider.

What Should Be Included When Transferring Records?

In addition to the conditions that are permissible for releasing another physician’s records, the HIPAA Privacy Rule also outlines which information a physician can release on behalf of another physician. This is known as the designated record set.

The designated record set includes the following information:

  1. The medical records and billing records about individuals maintained by or for a covered health care provider.
  2. The enrollment, payment, claims adjudication, and case or medical management record systems maintained by or for a health plan, or;
  3. Used, in whole or in part, by or for the covered entity to make decisions about individuals.

If a patient or another provider requests the release of “any and all” records, the entire content of the designated record set may be released. This can include labs, treatment activities, or notes from an outside provider.

If they request the release of records “created by or limited to,” only the specific section of the designated record set that is in the request may be released.

Medical Record Management from Desert River Solutions

With any medical records request, it is best to respond as quickly as possible.

Desert River Solutions record management services can help you streamline your medical record storage and fulfill patient record requests quickly and easily. Our HIPAA-compliant document scanning, electronic medical record extraction, and medical records custodianship services were specially designed to help physicians stay compliant with local and federal laws.

Contact us today to get started on your new medical record management solution.

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