Doctors Should Give Patients Their Damn Data

Zackary Berger | | July 16, 2013

An excerpt from Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. All rights reserved.)

There are plenty of books out there to teach us how to boldly and proudly advocate for ourselves in the doctor’s office. Doctors have held the reins too long, goes the story, and ignored what patients want and need. So it’s time for patients to step up and ask for what we deserve. If there are medications prescribed, we should know how, when, and why. If there are tests to be ordered, we should have the results in hand. We should even have unfettered access to our medical records—this last expectation has a slogan attached, too: “Give me my damn data!”

Who would be so tone deaf as to deny people access to information about themselves? In the past, a patient often had to make a formal request for documents, and many offices charged patients for copying. [...]