Please like & subscribe! A stable of apps now promise to safeguard your medical records, providing a convenient place for you to reference and share your health data. That is, if you’re actually able to obtain a digital copy of your data. Some doctors’ offices require you to fax, mail, or hand-deliver a signed paper release if you request your records—and they may only give you paper copies, not digital. Other docs make it as simple as logging on to a patient portal to retrieve PDFs and machine-readable copies of your records, like .xml files.
Today, the first step to taking ownership of your medical data, experts say, is simply asking for it. Then it’s up to you how to share and store it. But tech giants and smaller start-ups are working to make that process even easier—by creating an ecosystem for securely shared files, where you don’t need to do any work at all to find your records. Health tech writer Christina Farr and Erin Mackay, a patient access advocate, talk about some of the pitfalls of requesting your records, what to do when you get them, and how to prevent your health data from ending up on the dark web.
Christina Farr is a senior writer at Fast Company, based in San Francisco, California.
Erin Mackay is coordinator of GetMyHealthData in Washington, D.C.
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