Personal health records - what they are, and your rights to access them

Apr 22, 2024

Your medical records are the comprehensive documentation of your personal health history. They contain all the clinical notes, test results, treatments, diagnoses, and other medical information gathered by every health care provider involved in your care.

However, your full medical records don't exist in one place. Instead, they are fragmented across multiple providers like:

  • Primary care doctors

  • Specialists

  • Hospitals

  • Clinics

  • Diagnostic labs

  • Pharmacies

  • Health insurers

Each provider maintains their own set of partial records about the care they provided to you. To get the complete picture of your health journey, you need to consolidate your records from all these sources.

In the EU and the US there are data protection and health privacy laws securing you the right to obtain copies of your complete medical records from any doctor, hospital, clinic or health care provider. This includes everything from test results and doctor notes to billing statements and insurance claims.

Why Getting Your Medical Records Matters

Having access to your full medical records is not just a convenience - it's your legal right as a patient. Understanding your health history is critical for making informed decisions and ensuring you receive the best possible care. Having your medical records on hand allows you to:

  • Provide new doctors with your full health background for proper treatment

  • Double check for any errors or missing information

  • Better understand your condition, test results, and treatment plans

  • Make decisions about further care or second opinions

  • Maintain a comprehensive personal health record

  • Enable the Livv Health app to help organize and access your complete health history

How to Request Your Medical Records

The exact process varies from country to country, but generally you need to submit a written request to each health care provider that has some of your records. This could be done via mail, email, an online portal, or by getting a form in person. You can also ask Livv Health to retrieve your records for you, or follow our step-by-step guides to do it yourself

Most providers are required to respond within 30 days, though some may charge reasonable fees for copying and sending records. You may need to present ID verification as well.

Don't accept being denied access to your comprehensive medical records. Providers can only refuse under limited exceptions, such as if viewing certain psychological notes could threaten your life or safety. Know your rights and take the steps to obtain copies of your full lifelong health records from every provider.

Detailed guides for how to get your health data are available for

Livv empowers you to manage your

own health journey

At Livv Health, we're dedicated to ensuring you have the tools to control your health information, enriching your journey towards wellness.

Manage your

own health journey

Livv empowers you to manage your health information, enhancing your path to wellness.