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How can you charge so much money for the education it takes to become a doctor and never teach them about the impact of poorly kept medical records? There is a huge problem in the integrity of the information that is put into medical records. It runs from casually putting irrelevant information in the records to nurses actually filing someone else’s information in your records. Just like credit reports, when you apply for life insurance the underwriters assume that your records are accurate. They make decisions based on that assumption.

I read recently that 90% of medical records contain erroneous information. Much can be attributed to doctor doodling, and plenty of it is due to the difficulty of transcribing doctor notes, be infamous as they are in regards to their handwriting.

A good example was a client of mine, a woman in great health, who got an approval at a standard rate because the underwriter read in her medical records that her mother had died of colon cancer at age 44. We knew that her mother had colon cancer at age 44. We also knew that she was now 64 she was still cooking Thanksgiving dinners for the family. The entry was in error. Once that was resolved she was approved at preferred, half of what the standard rate would have cost.

Another case was a fellow Coloradan. Athletic, good habits, and in all aspects should have been preferred plus, the best rate class. He was approved standard because it said in his medical records that he was being treated for depression. The real story went like this. The man was at his doctor’s office with a common cold. His father was dying and he had been kind of down about. He felt especially burdened because he was the executor of the estate.The doctor gave him a sample of an antidepressant and a prescription for more if he needed it. The man never took the samples and never filled the prescription. He did call the doctor’s office and told them that he was doing well and didn’t feel like he needed it. The doctor never made any mention of that phone call in my client’s records. We were able to clear that up with a letter of explanation from the doctor.

Bottom line.The point is that everyone should review their medical records at least every year or two. You should always pay attention to what a doctor writes when you visit them. You’re paying them good money. Ask them to stick around for a minute while you read their notes and ask them to correct anything and clarify anything that doesn’t seem right.