EPIC logo

Medical Records and Privacy

Medical records contain sensitive information, and increasing computerization and other policy factors have increased threats to their privacy. This page has information about threats to privacy from modern record-keeping systems and from legislation. It also includes information about some current legal protections and other methods for maintaining your medical privacy. Finally, it provides links to other information about medical record privacy.

What's In Your Medical Records?

Besides information about physical health, these records may include infomation about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and even the private thoughts and feelings that come with psychotheraphy. This information is often keyed to a social security number. Because of a lack of consistent privacy protection in the use of Social Security Numbers, the information may be easily accessible.

Information from your medical records may influence your credit, admission to educational institutions, and employment. It may also affect your ability to get health insurance, or the rates you pay for coverage (OTA report). More importantly, having others know intimate details about your life may mean a loss of dignity and autonomy.

Threats to Medical Record Privacy

Legislative Risks to Medical Record Privacy

Current Protections

Maintaining Medical Record Privacy

Other Information about Medical Records Privacy