By Cindy Abole
MUSC patients and their families now have an easier way to access their medical record information belonging to their loved ones thanks to a proactive health information staff who recognized the need to simplify the process while protecting privacy rights.
The new annual permission by Patient to Access Protected Health Information form (access form) is an abbreviated version of the full disclosure form (Authorization to Disclose Protected Health Information) that's used to release medical information authorized by the patient. The access form allows a patient or designee, spouse, family member, age 18 and older or significant other, to access medical information without creating a HIPAA privacy issue. The access form grants access to obtain medical record information via mail, fax, e-mail, and phone, in person or electronic view. This new form does not replace the existing authorization form.
The effort was led by Elice McCulley Graham, Medical University Hospital Authority (MUHA) Release of Information (ROI) supervisor, who manages the release of medical record information for the hospital and clinics. Graham collaborated with MUHA's Education Rollout Committee to communicate the form's availability and appropriate use.
"Our goal was to help patients and to roll out this new tool to staff as smoothly as possibly while staying compliant to the law," she said.
The access form is valid for one year from date of signature. Originals will be sent to the hospital's Health Information Services' ROI office to be scanned into the appropriate electronic medical record systems.
The access form will be accessible to staff in Horizon Patient Folder (McKesson), Practice Partner or by contacting the Health Information Services department. According to Graham, HIPAA privacy audits will be conducted continually by the medical center's Compliance Office.
To access the online form visit https://www.musc.edu/cce/ORDFRMS/pdf/all_all_consent_authtorelease_ptannualaccess.pdf or visit the HIS website, http://mcintranet.musc.edu/his/index.htm. For information, call Graham at 792-3881.