When it comes to breast cancer medical records, patients don’t always know how their medical information is stored and the difficulties that may arise when they try to retrieve it. Patients often assume that their laboratory results, imaging studies, and consultations with other specialists have been correctly added to their medical history, and their treating physician can easily and quickly review them. Many patients also assume that health institutions comply with quality guidelines regarding information management, so if they ever require their data, it should be available without delays. But reality is much different than these assumptions.
How medical records are managed in reality
Since 2009, the United States has been investing a significant amount of money to spread the use of electronic health records across the country. However, not all institutions have joined this modality, and many have decided to use their own format. This implies an absolute absence of standardization when recording patients’ demographic data, which in practice, translates into duplicated medical records.
The non-standardization of a patient’s registration process is the reason that some of your test results will never be added to your medical history. You could have undergone a mammogram last month, and your doctor still hasn’t seen it yet. Patients aren’t registered under a unique identification number, so each department within the same institution could add your information to different records or even create a new one instead of trying to find the existing record.
Basically, your medical information is not treated the way that you perhaps thought it was. You may not have a single medical history, but many of them. Also, your test results could be in the medical history of someone else. Therefore, for you to get breast cancer medical records early could be more complicated than you expected.
Why do health institutions not take corrective measures to prevent these kinds of mistakes? They aren’t incentivized to keep records in a way that allows for both patients and doctors to retrieve them.
Breast cancer medical records
For you to get breast cancer medical records early is absolutely necessary. Time is vital, and you don’t want to get caught in any procedures imposed by the system to access your medical information. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer often face limited treatment options and are forced to seek second opinions and clinical trials that offer appropriate therapeutic alternatives for the disease stage in which they currently are. This means that you must have a complete and organized medical history that allows the new specialist to get a clear picture of your case and its therapeutic possibilities. When diagnosed with breast cancer, you should be able to access your medical records before you need them.
Many patients choose redundant testing as a way to avoid delays caused by the system. They undergo mammograms, CT scans, MRIs, X-ray scans, and laboratory tests again instead of waiting for their medical records because of the amount of time and energy that it takes. But if you can efficiently access your breast cancer medical records, you can obtain faster second opinions, save time, and avoid being exposed to unnecessary radiation.
Why should breast cancer patients have their records ahead of time?
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, they have tons of questions: is there a treatment? What options are available? Their treating physician may not always be able to give them the answers, and many doctors are often unaware of all the currently available therapy options. You must expand your information sources by looking for second opinions, requesting to be transferred to a specialized center, or initiating the search for a clinical trial that offers a therapeutic alternative. Whichever path you choose, having comprehensive and well-organized medical records on hand will be essential to increase your chances of success.
Sometimes, doing clinical trials is the only hope of receiving a treatment that could prolong a patient’s life, and medical records are the means through which doctors can evaluate whether the candidate meets the eligibility criteria to be admitted. That’s why it’s so important to get breast cancer medical records early; it opens a window for you to find and join a clinical trial that matches your case.
Ciitizen helps patients gain power over their medical records
Ciitizen understands that finding second opinions and the right clinical trials is fundamental for breast cancer patients. Getting your own medical records shouldn’t be a challenge. That’s why Ciitizen offers a free clinical trial matching service for advanced and metastatic breast cancer patients that simplifies the search and how medical records are shared with the best-fit clinical trial. Ciitizen facilitates the access and organization of medical records, making it easier for the patient, authorized family members, caregivers, and potential clinical trial leaders to access and review medical information, all while protecting the patient’s privacy and ensuring that control remains in the patient’s hands throughout the entire process.
The first step to fight against breast cancer is to be ready. We are here to help you.
Ciitizen is a free service that helps patients get more out of their health records. Our platform enables patients to find better treatment options and gives them the opportunity to advance the research for cures. Ready to control all of your medical records in one place? Sign up today in less than 5 minutes!