How to request hospital medical records

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Requesting your medical records from a hospital is a good step to take in managing your health care. You can use your records to get a second opinion on treatment from another hospital or physician, or store the records as part of your family's medical history.

You can sometimes request medical records for family members; however, check with your hospital to see how they handle the next-of-kin order. You often can request the hospital to send the records directly to another medical professional.

Write a letter to the office administrator of your hospital or visit your hospital's website to determine which forms and information you will need to request medical records. They can also tell you the price for copies of the records and the time frame for delivery. You will need to provide your name and birth date, as well as the dates you were in the hospital.

Ask for a request-of-information form from your hospital. You will need to mail this form in or take it to the medical records department in the hospital in person, because a signature is needed to verify identity. Hospitals will not release records through a phone or e-mail request.

Sign and submit a form detailing your authorisation to release medical records. Some hospitals require this type of form for all record requests, while others need it only if you request the medical records be sent to another doctor or hospital.

Pay any fees requested by the hospital. Usually, hospitals only charge fees for sending records to individuals and not to other medical professionals. Hospitals often use a set fee per page, with extra fees for X-rays film copies. Not every hospital charges fees, so check with the medical records department when submitting your documentation.