Medical records are documents that contain information about your health history, treatments, medications, allergies, and other relevant data.

They are important for your own health care, as well as for insurance claims, legal matters, and research purposes. But how long should you keep your medical records? And how should you store them safely and securely, in cloud image storage or as physical documents?

In this blog post, we will answer these questions and provide some tips on how to manage your medical records effectively.

Why Do You Need to Keep Medical Records?

There are several reasons why you need to keep your medical records, such as:

To ensure continuity of care

Your medical records help your current and future healthcare providers to understand your health condition, diagnose you accurately, prescribe you appropriate medications, and monitor your progress.

To avoid billing errors

Your medical records can help you to verify the charges and services that you receive from your health care providers and insurance companies. They can also help you to dispute any errors or frauds that may occur in your billing statements or claims.

To protect your rights

Your medical records can serve as evidence in case you need to file a complaint, a lawsuit, or a claim for compensation related to your health care. You can also prove your eligibility for certain benefits or programs, such as disability or veterans’ benefits.

To contribute to research

Your medical records can help researchers to study various diseases, treatments, outcomes, and trends in health care. Public health authorities can also monitor and prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases or other health threats with mass patient data.

How Long You Should Keep Medical Records?

There is no definitive answer to how long you should keep your medical records, as different laws and regulations may apply depending on your location, situation, and type of record.

However, here are some general guidelines that you can follow:

For adults

You should keep your medical records for at least 5 years from the date of the last entry or service. This is the minimum period required by most federal laws and state laws for healthcare providers to retain their patients’ records.

However, some states may have longer periods, so you should check with your local authorities or legal advisors for more specific information.

For children

You should keep medical records until they turn 25 years old.

This is because children may not be able to access their own records until they reach the age of majority (usually 18), and they may need them for various purposes later in life, such as applying for college, joining the military, or seeking medical care as adults.

For special cases

You may need to keep your medical records longer than the above periods if you have certain conditions or circumstances that require ongoing or long-term care, such as chronic diseases, disabilities, mental illnesses, or exposure to hazardous substances.

You may also need to keep them longer if you are involved in any legal actions or claims related to your health care.

cloud image storage

How You Should Store Medical Records

You can store and organize your medical records in various ways, including digital and physical formats.

One option is to digitize the documents and store them online using a secure third-party website (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or on the cloud, which can be accessed for free through your health insurance plan, primary caregiver, or hospital.

You should keep physical copies of the records in a file cabinet or folder and label them for easy access. It is recommended to store copies of medical records in multiple locations, such as in your car, purse, or with someone else, to prepare for natural disasters. Don’t forget to keep track of logins and passwords for any cloud image storage used to store medical records.