Don't "Hide the Football" Post-Event
When something goes wrong, patients and families will often ask to see the medical records and the chart. Now, we have to keep HIPAA in mind when talking with family members....maybe the patient really doesn't want his crazy uncle from California seeing the chart. But, assuming people are entitled to the chart and records, we need to be pro-active with these requests. Don't mess around. Some hospitals and physicians are very good about this, and this helps keep the temperature down post-event. We also recommend that you gently ask why the patient or family wants to see the chart, because maybe they have a simple request you can quickly assist with....maybe it's not that big of a deal. However, the residue of deny and defend still lingers here as some hospitals and practices will respond to patients and families by saying they have some "waiting period" before records can be released. This can drive patients and families nuts, and unnecessarily raise suspicions. If I have to wait 10, 20, or 30 days to get my records, the review better show you made a mistake, committed malpractice, etc or I will forever believe you monkeyed with the chart during the "waiting period."
As we develop our disclosure programs, we need to remove all unnecessary obstacles and bureaucratic red tape that further damage relationships with patients and families.