The Overlooked Release

One of the most important things for a health care provider to have is all of the information on their patient’s health.  For instance, knowing that a patient has a history of seizures may influence the type of attention medication that a doctor will prescribe.  Similarly, knowing that a patient has a history of learning disabilities will affect the interpretation of neuropsychological and speech pathology testing.  On the surface, it would seem pretty obvious that a health care provider needs all the information he or she can get on their patient.  But in reality, the provider usually has very limited information which makes assessment and treatment more difficult than it needs to be.

Many patients and their families simply assume that each health care provider they see knows what each other provider is doing.  Unless the health care providers all work for the same facility, the providers do not have access to each others’ information.  Patients, or loved ones that have the legal right to do so, must request that the information from one health care provider be sent to the other health care provider.  This will always be done with a written form called a Release of Information or Release of Records.  This release allows the providers specified on the form to share information.  So, if you want your family care physician to know what happened to you in the hospital, you want to make sure that you have signed a release of information for the hospital to send information to the physician.

There will often be check boxes on these forms specifying what information is being sent.  For instance, certain information such as psychological records have added legal protections so they cannot simply get sent automatically with other records (For instance, do you really want your insurance company to have the same access to session notes from your marital therapy session as they do for your physical therapy session?).  Moreover, doctors/facilities will only send the records from their offices, and not the records from other offices.  For example, if you are requesting notes from a rehabilitation facility to your family doctor, the rehabilitation facility will only send their records to the doctor.  They will not send the notes from the hospital you were at prior to the rehabilitation facility even if the facility has the hospital records.  Each doctor/facility will require a release of information to be signed and often they will insist that it be on a release form from their office.  Though this may seem like a bit of an inconvenience, having a full set of records greatly improves the ability of health care providers to give the best possible treatment to their patients and reduces the likelihood of wasted time/errors.

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center!  Visit us at:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s