Letter: Doctors must assure women that medical records are private

Doctors must assure privacy of records

To the editor:

Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak's May 11 letter to the editor regarding the importance of wellness visits for women is an excellent reminder to have preventive care.

However, her statement that "everything you discuss is entirely confidential" can no longer be taken for granted. With the advent of shared electronic medical records, everything you discuss with your doctor is likely to be included in your electronic records. The current policy in most medical practices is that your primary doctor will include your electronic medical records (which includes information from all your providers including gynecologists) with all referrals they make.

I became aware of this after a knee injury. I asked for a complete copy of my referral. I asked my physical therapist if the information was pertinent to my treatment. She stated: Absolutely not.

I recommend that everyone sign up for the patient portal to view your medical records. Check them for accuracy and see what information is being indiscriminately shared with other providers such as physical therapists, dermatologists, etc.

Check with your primary doctor's referral clerk and ask about their referral policy. Finally, call your health care system and let them know that providing unnecessary gynecology information is a step backward for women's health.

Donna Chandler, Pittsfield


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