Does A Patient Own Their Imaging?

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The answer is no.  So who does?

Healthcare providers and health plans are the owners of medical records.  With respect to the imaging portion of the record, the facility creating the image has ownership. However, patients have the right to access their information, obtain copies and request for an amendment to the record.  This amendment request does not allow the medical record or specifically the radiology report to be changed or deleted. If the reporting physician agrees to the need for amendment to the record, an addendum would be attached to the existing report correcting any errors.

Retention of records varies by state but generally at least 5 years.  Some records require longer retention such as mammography, toxic exposure cases and minors.  Loss or destruction of records prior to state and federal regulatory requirements could bring substantial monetary penalties or potentially lead to an indefensible case in a medical malpractice suit.  With increasing utilization of EHR and PACS and the use of cloud-based technology, the ownership of the record may be more difficult to determine as well as the onus of retention. (Who Owns the Image? Archiving and Retention Issues in the Digital Age , Journal of American College of Radiology,  J. Mezrich, MD, JC, MBA, LLM and E. Siegel, MD April 2014)

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