Introduction:

All patients are entitled to receive information from the medical records.
Patients must pay to take information from a medical facility's medical records

According to section 18 of the Patients' Rights Law, a patient is entitled to get medical information from the medical records of the doctor or institution.

  • There is a fee for receiving copies of the medical records.

Target Audience and Prerequisites

To Whom and How to Apply

Stages of the Process

  • Request from an Attending Physician:
    • If a request to take information from the medical record is for purposes of continuing medical treatment (i.e. an illness summary or results from tests that were performed during hospitalization), patients should contact their attending physician at their primary care clinic.
    • There is no cost for receiving information ordered by an attending physician.
  • Request Directly from a Patient:
    • Patients wishing to obtain information independently, and not through an attending physician, must contact the relevant medical records department. In such cases, there is a fee for receiving the information.
    • All hospital medical records departments have details regarding fees for obtaining medical records.
    • The maximum cost for obtaining a copy of medical records is in accordance with the medical services price listing posted on the Ministry of Health website (the price listing is available in an English Excel file).
Example
The cost for locating and copying documents up to ten pages long is 96 NIS according to the Health Ministry price listing accurate as of 02.04.2014, (Ministry of Health code L0268).

When Must a Patient Sign a Waiver of Medical Confidentiality?

  • The patient must sign a waiver of medical confidentiality in the following cases:
    • When someone besides the patient requests medical information, and the patient does not come in person to the medical records department, the patient must sign a waiver of medical confidentiality.
    • A representative of the patient must bring the signed form to the relevant medical facility medical records department. For more information, see: Waiving Medical Confidentiality.
    • When a patient requests information in a manner in which his/her identity cannot be verified face to face (i.e. by telephone).
    • In cases involving wards or the legally incompetent, a legal guardian must sign on the patient's behalf.
    • If a patient is in a medical facility and cannot provide a written waiver of medical confidentiality, the waiver may be given verbally before 2 witnesses, as long as it is documented in written form in the medical record as soon as possible thereafter.
    • There are certain administrative bodies and individuals who by law have the authority to obtain medical information even without a waiver of medical confidentiality, in order to fulfill their professional duties. Some examples include IDF recruitment offices, the Medical Institute for Road Safety, welfare officers, etc.

Obtaining Medical Information for Minors

Obtaining Medical Information for an Unconscious Patient

  • In the case of an unconscious patient who signed a waiver of medical confidentiality in advance, or for whom a guardian has been appointed, there are no obstacles to obtaining information from the medical record.
  • In the case of an unconscious patient who is hospitalized and did not sign a waiver of medical confidentiality in advance and for whom a guardian has not been appointed:
    • The hospital's legal adviser must be contacted in order to determine whether the medical file may be reviewed or whether some information from it may be disclosed.
    • If the hospital's legal adviser refuses the request, it may be brought before a court of law.

Obtaining X-Rays from a Dentist

  • Patients are entitled to receive information from the medical records held by their dentist, including copies.
  • X-rays:
    • Dentists must provide copies of medical imaging to another physician who is treating the patient and who has requested them in the proper manner (an example of directions for a proper request can be found on the Ministry of Health website).
    • The images, or any other documentation, must to the greatest extent possible, be delivered in person or sent by registered mail with proof of delivery. In such a case, the proof of delivery must be placed in the medical file.
    • Doctors are permitted to require a fee for copies made to be sent to the patient or someone on the patient's behalf. According to Ministry of Health regulations, any fee which is more than 50% of the cost of duplication is considered to be unreasonable.
    • Dentists are obligated to keep x-rays for the period required by law. The period begins with the completion of treatment or when some medical malpractice has been detected, the latter of the two. For adults, the period lasts for 10 years from this date; for minors, at least until age 25.

Obtaining Medical Information when Switching Health Plans

  • When someone changes health plans, the health plan is required to transfer full information from the medical record in accordance with a policyholder request, including copies and duplicates in whole or in part.
  • Information will be sent to the policyholder upon submitting a written request.
  • Transfer of information from one health plan to another for purposes of medical treatment is performed free of charge.
  • Health plans are required to transfer requested medical information within 30 days of receiving the request.
  • Besides the policyholder, doctors or others authorized by the requesting health plan to do so may request information directly or through the policyholder.
  • Requests may be made directly (in person with a request form), or with a registered written request sent by mail or fax and accompanied by the required documentation.

Please Note

  • All hospitals have medical records departments that are to be contacted with requests, and which have detailed information regarding fees for obtaining medical records.
  • Patients requesting their own medical information do not have to sign a waiver of medical confidentiality.

Laws & Regulations

Credits