Situations can arise in which it is justifiable to disclose a patient’s medical records to a person other than the patient. In some cases, you might have a statutory duty to share certain information – such as reporting notifiable diseases, reports to the cancer registry, etc – but in these cases it is unlikely that you will also need to provide access to the medical records themselves. There are other circumstances, however, where you might need to allow access to part or the whole of a patient’s medical records.
The law states that all health information that is collected by the health information system is confidential. 6 A provider that has submitted patient information to the system can only access the submitted information and aggregate data but may not access any information submitted by another provider. 7 The law also requires that information obtained by a health maintenance organization (HMO) be kept confidential and cannot be disclosed unless otherwise required by Maine law or if the individual authorizes its release. 8
Many jurisdictions also allows a person to correct information that may be “inaccurate, out of date, irrelevant, incomplete or misleading” as is the case in s 33(d) of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW), and that if the information is incomplete or out of date, then a person can submit a request for amendments to ensure that the information will be complete, or up to date (s 33(e) of the NSW Act) to a private sector person, body corporate, trust or any other unincorporated association or body.