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Getting your paper medical records
How to request your health records — it’s your right.
How to request your health records — it’s your right.
Jennifer avatar
Written by Jennifer
Updated over a week ago

If you need to get your health records, it helps to understand how the process works. That way, you’ll know what to do if you hit a road block.

How do I get started?

The first step is to check your health care provider’s online patient portal. A patient portal is a secure website, where patients can often do things like make appointments, contact their doctor, and look at lab results. Some of your health information may be available through the patient portal to download. 

A zip file with all of your health records from the patient portal will hold a three formats. 

  • .xml - structured data (data your OneRecord can read)

  • html - text file

  • pdf - portable document format

If the health information you need is not available through the patient portal, you may be able to contact your provider directly through the portal to ask for it. You may even be able to request your complete health record through the patient portal.

If your provider does not have an online patient portal, try other ways to contact them:

  • Check their website: Information about how to get your health record can often be found under the Contact Us section of a provider’s website. It may direct you to an online portal, a phone number, an email address, or a form.

  • Phone or visit: You can also call or visit your provider or doctor and ask them how to get your health record. Ask for the health information services department or the administrative staff in charge of releasing health records.

How do I ask for it?

How you make your request will depend on your provider’s processes. You may be able to request it through your provider’s patient portal. You may have to fill out a health or medical record release form, send an email, or mail or fax a letter.

Bring a form of photo identification

If you deliver your request form or letter in person, you’ll be asked to present identification.

Do I have to pay a fee to get my health record?

You may have to pay a fee. However, according to your federal rights, your provider may only charge a reasonable fee for:

  1. Making a paper copy or electronic media copy (e.g. CDs or USB drive) of your health records

  2. Mailing you a paper or electronic media copy of your health records

When you send in the request for your health records, ask your provider how much it will cost to get your record.

How long will I have to wait?

According to federal law, your provider can take up to 30 days to deliver your health records. However, if you requested a specific delivery date, you may get your records sooner. If your provider needs more than 30 days, they must give you a reason for the delay and a new delivery date. They can take up to 30 extra days.

Why is it taking so long to get my records?

There are a few reasons why getting your record can take some time:

  1. Records can be thousands of pages long, so sorting through them to find the right information can take time.

  2. Your provider may have a high volume of requests. Some large providers get over 10,000 requests a month.

  3. If you are asking for older records, they may be on paper in storage. It may take some time to find these records and process them.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us via the "help button" in the bottom right hand corner of the screen or email us at


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