A reader's recent entry on Health Data Management's Discussion Board makes a strong case for patients' control over their medical records.

Arguing from a legal perspective, the author notes that a physician may order X-rays, have the patient schedule an imaging examination AND pay for the procedure, and not permit the patient to have the X-rays because they are part of the medical record. Under contract law, however, the patient would own the images, the author contends. "The fact that the lab forwarded the images to the doctor does not result in conversion so that it becomes the legal possession of the physician."

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