Patients ask, "who owns my medical images?"

Posted by Les Trachtman on Aug 5, 2014 4:36:43 PM

Question: who owns my medical images? Answer: you can look but not touch.

It may amaze you to learn that the X-rays, CT Scans & MRIs of intimate parts of your anatomy are not your property. Pretty shocking, huh? In fact, the imaging center or hospital that took these images owns the title (copyright) to the image itself and the media on which it exists. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that many doctors are reluctant to provide their patients with these images.

Don't worry, your doctor isn't trying to hide anything from you. In fact, HIPAA does give the patient the right to access their own images (in most circumstances). However, there may be delays and costs incurred by the patient in their quest to obtain copies. Each State may also regulate the maximum costs for patient access.

This is a problem.

Your images are critically important to your health. The FDA strongly encourages patients to keep a record of all of their medical images. Having timely access to your images can save you from unhealthy re-imaging, the costs associated with duplicate images, as well as speed diagnosis that may be the difference between life and death.

So here's what you do...

Every time you have an image taken, ask for your copy. If you doctor or health care facility is reluctant to provide it to you, suggest they read the HIPAA regulations (that often gets their attention), and keep these images handy in either electronic CD form or using cloud storage. A little preventive action can go a long way.

This is the first step in improving medical outcomes for patients. The next step is WHY the patient needs more control of their medical images.

Topics: Purview, Purview Medical, Purview Blog, patient medical images, FDA

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