18 doctors weighed in:

Disaster (fire, vandalism, water) happen to patient records?

18 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Okamoto
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: Depends

In case of disaster, the patient records might be lost if they are on paper or stored on a computer server. Nowadays, more and more doctors offices have "cloud based" EMRs (electronic med records) so even if a clinic were to be destroyed, the records are safe.
It's a good idea to keep your own set of "records" in case of disaster (meds, important medical information) that you can take with you.

In brief: Depends

In case of disaster, the patient records might be lost if they are on paper or stored on a computer server. Nowadays, more and more doctors offices have "cloud based" EMRs (electronic med records) so even if a clinic were to be destroyed, the records are safe.
It's a good idea to keep your own set of "records" in case of disaster (meds, important medical information) that you can take with you.
Dr. James Okamoto
Dr. James Okamoto
Thank
Dr. David Lipkin
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: See answer

If the records are computerized and backed up with the back up off site then the records are secure.
If not computerized it's likely the paper charts would be destroyed.

In brief: See answer

If the records are computerized and backed up with the back up off site then the records are secure.
If not computerized it's likely the paper charts would be destroyed.
Dr. David Lipkin
Dr. David Lipkin
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Dr. Bernard Seif
Clinical Psychology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Digital age

These days most medical records are stored electronically.
They are backed up elsewhere also. Peace and good health.

In brief: Digital age

These days most medical records are stored electronically.
They are backed up elsewhere also. Peace and good health.
Dr. Bernard Seif
Dr. Bernard Seif
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Dr. Gehrig Harris
Family Medicine

In brief: Patient records

When disasters happen doctors office's and hospitals are not immune to them. Patient's records have been lost, burned in fires or just stolen on many occasions.
This is one of the reasons that doctors are being urged to move to electronic medical records that are stored off site. Then even if the office goes under, your records are safe.

In brief: Patient records

When disasters happen doctors office's and hospitals are not immune to them. Patient's records have been lost, burned in fires or just stolen on many occasions.
This is one of the reasons that doctors are being urged to move to electronic medical records that are stored off site. Then even if the office goes under, your records are safe.
Dr. Gehrig Harris
Dr. Gehrig Harris
Thank
Dr. Lynne Weixel
Clinical Psychology

In brief: This was an issue!

As we modernize world-wide, this is less likely since there are electronic storage formats with back-up.
This prevents physical destruction but introduces hacking. But encryption tries to stay ahead of that. Don't worry too much!

In brief: This was an issue!

As we modernize world-wide, this is less likely since there are electronic storage formats with back-up.
This prevents physical destruction but introduces hacking. But encryption tries to stay ahead of that. Don't worry too much!
Dr. Lynne Weixel
Dr. Lynne Weixel
Thank
Dr. Julie Abbott
Preventive Medicine

In brief: Being able to

retain and preserve medical records when disaster hits it a major advantage of electronic medical records.
Many hospitals have special protections (fire proofing, etc) in the records room, but often older records ARE destroyed in a disaster situation. However, current records, created electronically, live in a secure cloud and, with proper permissions, can be retrieved.

In brief: Being able to

retain and preserve medical records when disaster hits it a major advantage of electronic medical records.
Many hospitals have special protections (fire proofing, etc) in the records room, but often older records ARE destroyed in a disaster situation. However, current records, created electronically, live in a secure cloud and, with proper permissions, can be retrieved.
Dr. Julie Abbott
Dr. Julie Abbott
Thank
Dr. Clarence Grim
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology

In brief: Diaster records.

If you keep your records online then they will be there.
I worked in Dominica years ago & they had had a hurricane that blew all medical records. They then required everyone to keep their own records. Using a small blue lined school exam booklet. Worked well. If you came to clinic without it you went to end of the line. Most had theirs every visit. Dr. would write in them including what to do.

In brief: Diaster records.

If you keep your records online then they will be there.
I worked in Dominica years ago & they had had a hurricane that blew all medical records. They then required everyone to keep their own records. Using a small blue lined school exam booklet. Worked well. If you came to clinic without it you went to end of the line. Most had theirs every visit. Dr. would write in them including what to do.
Dr. Clarence Grim
Dr. Clarence Grim
Thank
Dr. John Chiu
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology

In brief: EMR

Most if all all hospital records are in electronic and thus there will be backup or cloud storage off site.

In brief: EMR

Most if all all hospital records are in electronic and thus there will be backup or cloud storage off site.
Dr. John Chiu
Dr. John Chiu
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Dr. Rashed Hasan
Pediatrics - Critical Care

In brief: Patient records

Most places now have electronic health records (including images) that may be saved online

In brief: Patient records

Most places now have electronic health records (including images) that may be saved online
Dr. Rashed Hasan
Dr. Rashed Hasan
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Dr. Wayne Ingram
Obstetrics & Gynecology

In brief: New technology

Patient records have been digitalized into computer servers that mostly back up to outside the hospital areas such as the "cloud".
Computerization has been the bane of the modern doctors' existence, but in this case works well for a disaster.

In brief: New technology

Patient records have been digitalized into computer servers that mostly back up to outside the hospital areas such as the "cloud".
Computerization has been the bane of the modern doctors' existence, but in this case works well for a disaster.
Dr. Wayne Ingram
Dr. Wayne Ingram
Thank
Dr. Ayaz Samadani
General Practice

In brief: Lost medical records

Try gathering information from Pharmacy, consultant or Hospital

In brief: Lost medical records

Try gathering information from Pharmacy, consultant or Hospital
Dr. Ayaz Samadani
Dr. Ayaz Samadani
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Dr. John Goldman
Internal Medicine - Rheumatology

In brief: Back up procedures

It depends on what back up procedures are available.
This is something you can discuss with your physician . Be certain you get copies of your own records after every visit, and make your own file. This is because you may have records from various physicians .

In brief: Back up procedures

It depends on what back up procedures are available.
This is something you can discuss with your physician . Be certain you get copies of your own records after every visit, and make your own file. This is because you may have records from various physicians .
Dr. John Goldman
Dr. John Goldman
Thank
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dermatology

In brief: Sometimes

But now more and more records are electronic with full back-up.

In brief: Sometimes

But now more and more records are electronic with full back-up.
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
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Dr. Mary Wendt
Internal Medicine

In brief: Records are secure.

Most records are stored electronically and backed up to central locations, so that in the setting of fire or water damage, patient records are very safe.
In most cases, however, there's nothing to worry about; most patients know the important information about themselves, such as serious conditions and allergies. It's a good idea to keep a short medical history in your wallet just in case.

In brief: Records are secure.

Most records are stored electronically and backed up to central locations, so that in the setting of fire or water damage, patient records are very safe.
In most cases, however, there's nothing to worry about; most patients know the important information about themselves, such as serious conditions and allergies. It's a good idea to keep a short medical history in your wallet just in case.
Dr. Mary Wendt
Dr. Mary Wendt
Thank

In brief: Please rephrase

What exactly is your question? Patient records can obviously be damaged by all of the above causes.

In brief: Please rephrase

What exactly is your question? Patient records can obviously be damaged by all of the above causes.
Dr. Theodore Davantzis
Dr. Theodore Davantzis
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Dr. Michael Kleerekoper
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology

In brief: Patient records

It is hardly likely that the disaster will damage patient records.
Yes it could happen in a doctor's office but unlikely. Believe me -- the country is praying for you and that's not just because I am a Preacher's kid!

In brief: Patient records

It is hardly likely that the disaster will damage patient records.
Yes it could happen in a doctor's office but unlikely. Believe me -- the country is praying for you and that's not just because I am a Preacher's kid!
Dr. Michael Kleerekoper
Dr. Michael Kleerekoper
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Dr. Adam Levy
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
33 years in practice
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