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Man Charged £2,000 For Medical Records Stored On Obsolete System 368

An anonymous reader writes "In Britain, where it is custom and practice to charge around £10 for a copy of your medical results, a patient has discovered that his copy will cost him £2,000 because the records are stored on an obsolete system that the current IT systems cannot access. Can this be good for patient care if no-one can access records dating back from a previous filing system? Perhaps we need to require all current systems to store data in a way that is vendor independent, and DRM-free, too?"
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Man Charged £2,000 For Medical Records Stored On Obsolete System

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:42PM (#41912199)

    That'll fix all the issues. London has fog, too, so the clouds are even easier to access.

  • What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nighthawk243 ( 2557486 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:46PM (#41912227)
    Who the hell decided to not do the format conversion when they phased out the old system?
    • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:55PM (#41912341) Homepage Journal

      At least, if it's like any other large conversion I have been through.

      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )


        health records are probably under the purview of the NHS one way or another. Someone looked at the numbers and figured that it wasn't an effective use of taxpayer money.

        Or this guy was sent 1000 notices for 15 years saying to pick up his records for 10 pounds, didn't, and is now on the hook for a specialist.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poolecl ( 170874 )
          He is looking for a copy of an ultrasound that was done in 2004. It doesn't seem unreasonable to expect that records that are only 8 years old remain accessible.
      • Accountants.
        At least, if it's like any other large conversion I have been through.

        Relax we only want a few simple changes.

    • It is amazingly common to have this kind of thing happen. Healthcare is always strapped for cash and they probabily look at the cost of conversion and someone freaked out. To them it made more sense to keep the old equipment with its old data around in case it needed to be accessed. Over time, everyone forgets how it works and then someone actually needs to access it. And ta-da. Money is a very powerful motivator and to be blunt, the healthcare system in nearly ALL places is so technologically behind, it i
      • Healthcare is always strapped for cash...

        Huh, must be a British thing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          An unfortunate sideaffect of the publicly funded NHS.

          The NHS gets stuck in the middle with the public wanting free healthcare but without paying higher taxes, and with the costs of healthcare increasing due to larger aging population and the higher costs of newer diagnosis/treatments (MRI machines etc). So politicians can never set their budget as high as they want, because to do so they need to put taxes up.

          But we at least are all guaranteed free healthcare even if circumstances mean we can't afford to pay

        • Healthcare is always strapped for cash...

          Huh, must be a British thing.

          That's what I was thinking. Around here, healthcare spends as much as possible to keep their "non-profit" status.

          • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Informative)

            by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:56PM (#41913031) Homepage Journal

            Healthcare is always strapped for cash...

            Huh, must be a British thing.

            That's what I was thinking. Around here, healthcare spends as much as possible to keep their "non-profit" status.

            Not to mention the insane price gouging [] that is standard in American healthcare.

            For those who don't know and are too lazy to RTFA, in American healthcare a hospital may charge uninsured patients upwards of 500x more than they would charge an insured patient for the exact same procedure.

        • Re:What a fuckup (Score:4, Informative)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @08:05PM (#41913781)

          It's an American thing too! People see a huge healthcare bill and assume that the healthcare industry is just rolling in cash, but it's not true. Hospitals in the US are always having to cut corners, technology is out date, etc. Ie, they have to keep the ten year old capital purchases because they cost so much initially and it needs to be amortized, unlike rich corporations which routinely give out new computers every 3 years.

      • Healthcare is always strapped for cash
        Maybe in the U.K., but here in the sates, the healthcare industry is extremely wealthy. They also are extremely cheap. They pay crap wages for IT and will not invest in IT unless absolutely forced to (maybe this is the same in UK). But meanwhile, they are constantly expanding their billion dollar hospitals which all have much nicer furniture, flooring and trim then my house, and of course, they all have to have the absolute latest fad equipment to use on the patients
    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      In a past life I worked as a manager of a college's records department. We were putting all records onto a document imaging system beginning with more current records (paper -> scanner -> DIS) which kept all files current.

      There was a legacy storage system (microfiche) which, when someone requested records or when we had spare staff/time, was converted adhoc to the new system. We didn't charge previous students for this service even though it was a huge fucking hassle.

      This should be the same thing. The

    • They're also arrogant enough to try and pass the costs on to the customer...

      • They're also arrogant enough to try and pass the costs on to the customer.
        What other industry could ever have the balls to charge a customer more based on a bad decision that the company made? Well, other than the Cell Phone industry, and ISPs, and Banks, and Insurance Companies.
    • Re:What a fuckup (Score:5, Informative)

      by ChumpusRex2003 ( 726306 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:49PM (#41913635)

      The old system may not have been phased out completely - only phased out for new data. In fact, this is typically what happened with the older systems. Data was stored on MO discs, and stored on yards and yards of shelves. Although the data on the discs is in an open and standard format, the discs are an obscure and obsolete format.

      When a new system was installed (which after about 2000 would have been networked with data stored on a large server, rather than individual discs/tapes) it would have been too labour intensive to convert the format - and indeed, the existing equipment may not have supported it, or if it did, it may have required expensive configuration on both the image acquisition device and on the server side (to set up a connection from e.g. a CT scanner to an image server is an expensive process - typically configuring the server's IP address in the "image destination" config on the scanner is a manufacturer service call out - $4k+; and there must be a matching entry on the server with the scanner's IP address - again, software vendor only setup + new image source IP address licence - $5k+).

      So, even though the old system has been decommissioned for new use; the discs may still be available, and the workstation still functional, so that the discs can be read and the study examined by a doctor that needs it. However, there may be no way to transfer the data to a new format. E.g. the workstations may not have been fitted with a CD Writer; just the MO drive.

      This means that there is no way for the hospital to get the data off an MO disc and onto a contemporary format (like CD or DVD). The only way to do it, would be to acquire an old external SCSI CD-writer compatible with the old workstation (which may be something obscure like a sparcstation or an SGI indigo II) from a specialist IT supplier - or acquire an MO drive which can be connected to a modern workstation with a CD-Writer, or network access (in fact, even that isn't the end of the story, the old equipment may have been unix/linux based, which means the MO discs might be formatted in ext2 - an MO drive on a Windows workstation won't help with that). It is entirely plausible that this is the first request they have had for the data to be migrated to a new format, and that the equipment and configuration needed would have been expensive.

    • What he's requesting is unnecessary. He wants copies of the images/videos from his cardiac echo from years ago. It's pretty common not to store that kind of data for very long, only the written report (which he already has). I would think these archive copies have been kept (unfortunately) to avoid litigation in case anyone ever makes a complaint. They're unlikely to be of any relevance to his ongoing healthcare, which is why the hospital trust has asked for this money - it's because they would have to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:46PM (#41912231)

    That's more than the statutory maximums in both the Access to Health Records Act 1990 and Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended), which is £50 (if the records are a combination of computer and paper) or £10 (computer only).

    This is not legal advice, but it is a recommendation that he should seek legal advice.

    • by Sporkinum ( 655143 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:56PM (#41912347)

      What is the length of time requirement to keep records? In the US, for most medical studies, it's 7 years. He would be outside that here.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        So you have no medical history older than 7 years?
        Hope you never need to prove you had some required shots.

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          Not sure why you are being sarcastic to him, since he's right, it's pretty easy to look up.

          It somewhat varies due to different state laws, and the *recommendations* are generally 10 years, but 5-7 is a pretty common *requirement*. Of course that's the minimum, if your doctor/group/HMO doesn't suck I would think they would probably keep more, especially now that things are mostly digital.

          Though as far as I can tell none require them to provide the data in any raw format (besides basic imaging/x-rays). An

          • by Malenx ( 1453851 )

            There is no reason to keep it longer than 7 years. It's worthless information that doesn't matter to the provider, why wouldn't they delete it?

        • by Malenx ( 1453851 )

          That's up to the patient to track, not the medical provider.

      • In the United States, it's until Death. That's right, they have to keep your records until you die even if you only see that doc once in your life.

      • In the UK, 7 years from last modification date is generally regarded as the minimum retention period. Up till now, paper records would be destroyed after this point, due to the cost and space constraints of maintaining them. However, some hospitals would have microfilmed them, or scanned them into a document management system prior to destruction, with retention of the microfilm or digital data for a longer period.

        However, although 7 years is the "normal" retention time, there are lots and lots of exception

    • Had no idea that it became £50, but I am curious on the reaction with such a request and threat of legal action if it's not complied with.

      Legal advice is sound advice, It's no more a standard request than requesting a copy of records from any data controller.. their fault for preventing their own access.. time for them (well, the taxpayer in the end, as always) to pay up

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:47PM (#41912239)

    >> A statement from the trust (Britain's single payer health care system) said: "The trust does have the visual data on file but the cost of generating an image from what is now obsolete technology is not a cost effective use of public money.

    Good thing there's no chance of the US going to a single-payer I right?

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:54PM (#41912325)

      So 1 person has some trouble getting some old files vs our current system where we let folks with cancer die.

      Yeah, what a terrible tradeoff.

      • So 1 person has some trouble getting some old files vs our current system where we let folks with cancer die.

        Yeah, what a terrible tradeoff.

        You know, after they died they certainly will not ask for old pictures. Problem solved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You've failed to mention that both systems will let folks with cancer die. Socialist medicine has proven to fail (Canada), and the steps we've taken towards it in USA have failed (Obamacare is causing all small and medium sized hospitals to go bankrupt - mine only survived because it is the largest one within a few hundred miles). People will die no matter what - it's just a matter of how much free stuff we give to people who don't work for it before they die. Somebody has to pay for it (before you say "gov

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#41912531)

          I disagree with your claim that it has failed in Canada.
          It appears to be working fine, for an good example check out life expectancies.

          People always die, selecting who lives based on who has the most money is immoral.

          I pay my taxes happily, in the knowledge that they buy me the civilization I expect. That is the entire point.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by cdrguru ( 88047 )

          Not sure you can say the Canadian system has "failed". They have had their problems and when there isn't enough government money to go around, their system is terrible. But conversely, when the government is rolling in dough the system works fine.

          I suspect the US will have the same experience shortly. But post-Vietnam when has the government had enough money? For a little while during the dot-com boom, I suppose, but not really any other time. So I would expect that if you look at Canada in the 1980s w

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            We could easily come up with the cash. I imagine canceling a war or two might pay for it? Or maybe we could limit ourselves to only 2x as many aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined.

            Tax load is not 70% in Canada.

          • don't forget that the government tax load in Canada is more like 70% of your income./blockquote> Bullshit! I am Canadian and my tax load is no where near 70% of my income.

          • The top Canadian tax bracket is 29% federally and between 10% and 21% provincially.

            On top of that there are a few employment insurance type things and most provinces have a sales tax but even with everything the top brackets absolutly max out around 60%. And that is before any deductions. In Alberta it maxes out around 45%.

            We just spend our money better. No for-profit medical industry and a significantly reduced for-profit insurance industry means our cash goes a lot further.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Oh, and don't forget that the government tax load in Canada is more like 70% of your income. That is what it is going to take here as well, if not more. With the local taxes and state taxes added in you may find yourself getting 10% of your gross pay as take-home.

            I was with you up until here.


            So worst case scenario (where you're making over $150,000/yr in Nova Scotia -- where you can live comfortably on $50,000/yr), you're paying around 36% total in income taxes and 10% sales tax. Most people are paying closer to 28% income tax and 12% sales tax.

            Even if you had to pay sales tax on everything you earned/payed out and were the richest Canadian living in the worst possible location, you'd only be paying 60% of your mo

          • by Formalin ( 1945560 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:16PM (#41913279)

            Oh, and don't forget that the government tax load in Canada is more like 70% of your income. That is what it is going to take here as well, if not more. With the local taxes and state taxes added in you may find yourself getting 10% of your gross pay as take-home.

            -5, completely fucking wrong.

      • I am thrilled to hear that we have a cure for cancer.

        If you look carefully, I think you will find that all healthcare systems let people with cancer die.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          With no care at all?
          That claim does not reflect reality.

          There are many cancers that are treatable or curable. In most of the first world this care is available to all citizens. In the USA if you lack a method of paying for said care you will be given pain killers by an ER doctor and sent home.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by Obfuscant ( 592200 )

            With no care at all? That claim does not reflect reality.

            Yes, that claim does not reflect reality. Until we get the appointed board that controls the costs of Obamacare by deciding who is worth getting treated and who isn't.

            By the way, cancer isn't treated in ERs. Funny how an ER doctor wouldn't treat it, huh?

          • by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:03PM (#41913109)
            I don't think your statement is accurate about uninsured cancer patients. My roommate is a cardiologist (obviously he doesn't treat cancer patients very often but I believe this still applies) and he is adamant that patients in the current system (at least at UCSD medical center in San Diego, a very nice hospital system) receive the same care independent of their insurance status. It may destroy the patients finances and force them into bankruptcy, but not having health insurance doesn't mean hospitals won't treat you. Now if a cancer patient doesn't have insurance, and doesn't want to lose their house for their treatment, they may choose to go the painkiller route (having seen friends and family go through cancer treatment, this is the route I would likely choose), but they can certainly choose to bury themselves in debt before they die if they want too.

            I think the "non-treatment" fallacy is a big mis-truth that supporters of public healthcare covet and really don't understand... Just because you don't have insurance doesn't mean you won't be treated for your problem. In my limited experience, the quality of care is more dependent on the facility than whether or not the patent is insured. And in many cases, uninsured patients may actually pay less due to their financial situation than an insured patients pays for a deductible.

            Since this post is getting long I might as well say that I think lawyers are the problem, not privatized healthcare. Something like 50% of the private practice expenses go to malpractice insurance, hospitals pay an amazing amount of money towards it as well. Limiting the amount of money people could sue hospitals and doctors for (say $500,000 or something more more reasonable than the current infinity dollars) would go a long way to reducing the cost of health care and insurance. Unfortunately the lawyers that litigate those cases hold a lot of sway in the US political system. They are chomping at the bit to start suing the government backed/regulated/mandated insurance schemes that are coming into effect with obamacare.
            • Nice start. You lost it at "50% of the private practices expenses go to malpractice insurance". A total overhead of 50% of gross receipts would be an excellent rate of return for a private practice. But that would include ALL overhead - salaries, equipment, real estate and malpractice. Most practices probably run around a 40% ROR - it will vary depending on the specialty and location but it's not all malpractice, not by a long shot.

              Nobody really knows how much the American malpractice system costs every

        • I am thrilled to hear that we have a cure for cancer.

          If you look carefully, I think you will find that all healthcare systems let people with cancer die.

          Oh... don't be a dick. You know very well that he's talking about the provision of appropriate treatment regardless of current financial state.

          And yes, we currently have a cure for several types of cancer.

    • by Daas ( 620469 )

      A private insurance company would have for sure spared no expense to recover this man's files...

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Yes, then instead of someone being forced to actually make a decision and admit that they are actually refusing, he could have had a fun game of "go ask your mother - Go ask your father" where nobody actually acknowledges that they have made a decision in any form.

    • I'm trying to understand your point, but it's so unbelievably stupid I can't believe it's true.

      Are you suggesting that in a system like what we have today, someone would actually spend the $3000+ they're asking to retrieve the records?

      • Are you suggesting that in a system like what we have today, someone would actually spend the $3000+ they're asking to retrieve the records?
        I sure wouldn't. I have transferred my records a number of times and have never been charged and would not expect to be charged. That is part of the providers cost of doing business which they generously pad into their care of me.
    • First paragraph of TFA (emphasis added):

      Andrew Brown, 49, requested a copy of a cardiac ultrasound he had in 2004 at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

      2004 means nobody can reasonably claim that it's obsolete to the tune of £2000. Dude needs to sue the hospital and the government. This isn't a failing of single payer, it's corruption through and through.

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      In the US it would have been both beyond any legal requirement to keep records (which is usually 5-7 years) and allowed to charge a fee based on the actual cost of making the copy. So doubly screwed by that amazing private health care system.

    • the NHS isn't the same model as single payer are you thinking of the German style model
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:47PM (#41912241) Homepage

    Why should the patient have to pay 200 times as much money to access records when the difficulty isn't his fault?

    The company that was incompetent and stored things in an inefficient manner should cover the cost. Charging this incompetence to the patient shouldn't be legal.

    • Every old medical system I've seen is stored in some odd format or database. Most smaller clinic don't migrate records because of the insane costs that the vendors want to charge and instead migrate the information over on a client by client basis as they come in the office. If they patient doesn't come in for a number of years the records never get transferred. Since many of these systems cost yearly fees to run, after some point they are just shut off.

      This isn't the patients fault. I will go as far and sa

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        It is the hospitals fault for selecting such a system. The hospital should have required any vendor provide the database schema and an export tool at the time the software was purchased.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I work for a large company that develops medical record database software, so this is kinda my thing.

          We refuse to allow even qualified local database/IT consultants touch anything in the database. A single update or delete statement ran on the live database invalidates their support contact if we wish. That's not to say the whole .db file is proprietary, we (begrudgingly) allow third party companies to access the database to pull email/reminder information. Or, in the case of the pharmaceutical companies

  • by MoonRabbit ( 596371 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:48PM (#41912255) Homepage
    The last thing I want to hear at my doctor's office is "we're getting a new computer system."
  • by InvisibleClergy ( 1430277 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:49PM (#41912265)

    So instead of having migration costs, just charge your customers for your migration! Think about it - if you go to the bank, the teller tells you that it will cost you $2,000 to withdraw money because the system in which they store your account info is still on Windows ME! It sounds glorious. I am doing this immediately.

    Oh, wait, no. I only work on ancient systems. Whoops.

  • What are the record retention requirements in the UK? These records are from 2004. They'd have been destroyed at this point in Michigan (5 years last I looked). That said, if its within the record retention rules, you'd be a fool not to have them in some accessible format.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Medical records are only kept for less than 5 years in Michigan?

      That cannot be correct. Human medical histories have value a lot longer than that.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Hell. I DVD rips that are older than that. Most of my MP3 collection is twice older than that.

        Perhaps it's time for open formats, thumb drives, and people doing for themselves.

      • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

        But the relevance of a test from eight years ago is approximately zero.

        The only possible use of such a test would be to compare it against something current, but likely as not any real relevance would only be obtained if you had tests more frequently to compare against. And still, what does the current doctor want with an eight year old test? Most of the time anything over three or four years old is ignored and new tests are ordered.

        The truth of the matter is that people's bodies change over time.

    • That's bizarre. In California I found myself in the ER over a pretty bad infection. I hadn't been in the hospital since I was a little kid (I'm 26 now), so when they were asking for my contact info, they gave me the phone number I had when I was 5 years old and asked if it was correct. After giving them the relevant info, I jokingly asked when my last few visits were for, and they read off 4 entries all dating back to when I was 4 to 8. There were charts and all sorts of stuff attached to my file.

      I was blow

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      They are not required to be *destroyed* after 5 years, they are required to be *kept* for 5 years. It's a minimum guarantee to patients, not a maximum.

      It would be pretty awful medicine to require doctors not to be able to know your heath history longer than that!

  • Won't happen... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:55PM (#41912345)

    They may have asked him for £2,000 but he won't have to pay it:

    From the UK Information Commissioner's Office:
    You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request...Organisations may charge a fee of up to £10 (£2 if it is a request to a credit reference agency for information about your financial standing only).There are special rules that apply to fees for paper based health records (the maximum fee is currently £50) and education records (a sliding scale from £1 to £50 depending on the number of pages provided).

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:01PM (#41912433)

    and DRM-free, too?"

    Do you understand what "DRM" and "DRM-free" would equate to when it comes to your medical records?

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > Do you understand what "DRM" and "DRM-free" would equate to when it comes to your medical records?

      There would be some Linux tool that could decode it without being in any sort of legal grey area. I could always be sure that there is a decoder for the data even when the format becomes obsolete. I would not be at the mercy of the clinic or whatever medical device vendor they used.

    • ^ this.

      Calling this DRM is ridiculous. If I can't play AVI movies on an MPEG media player, that's not DRM, that's a format discrepancy.
    • and DRM-free, too?"

      Do you understand what "DRM" and "DRM-free" would equate to when it comes to your medical records?

      No kidding - personally, I think medical records would be the one place you would want some pretty strong DRM...

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:01PM (#41912441)

    You and ultimately only you are responsible for managing your own health. I learned a similar lesson when I left the only copies I had of an expensive MRI of my back, showing my back problems, at a doctor's office, and some time later requested them only to learn that "we threw them out, sorry, nothing we can do". The fact is that nobody is going to care about your own health like you are going to, so if any medical documents are important to you, keep records of them. This is your life, take responsibility for it .. it sucks, but he really should have made copies when it was still in an easily accessible format. I know, 20/20 hindsight. Young 'uns, learn from the mistakes of others.

    Using force to compel every doctor or hospital to keep every record ever in a conveniently accessible way would be ridiculous, it's not only immoral, it would cause already overpriced healthcare to dramatically rise further in price, and we'd all have to pay higher costs so that all the doctors and hospitals could keep records that aren't actually important or will never be accessed.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      It is immoral to force doctors to live up to some sort of standard?

      Then what do you think of medical licensing or even education?

      Storing a png of this record costs near nothing.

      • Storing a png of this record costs near nothing.

        Sure, if you're the only patient the hospital has. The storage of the records is probably not as significant as the organizing and retrievability of specific records for specific patients in a system with thousands or hundreds of thousands of patients.

      • It is immoral to force doctors to live up to some sort of standard?

        That depends on what that "some sort of" standard is, now doesn't it?

        I mean, apparently, based on your previous comments, your standard is "never 'let' anyone with cancer die", which is, unfortunately, an impossible standard and would thus be immoral to try to enforce. Depending on the penalties for failure, you'd have a mass exodus from the field of oncology and nobody with cancer would be able to get treatment. Kinda like the high price of malpractice insurance limiting the availability of OBs.

        If the s

    • That's the thing about healthcare, you may not realize you have something someone else really REALLY needs, until its too late.

      I dont see whats 'immoral' about holding doctors to the same standard as i'd hold to an accountant, frankly. If anything they should be held to a higher standard, if thats something they cant handle, then maybe they shouldn't be doctors.

      That said, you'd think they'd be the first folks on the front lines demanding things like open formats, to make this stuff easier for them. That w

  • That's ridiculous - why don't they have a computer and software left over from the old system that can access this data? Did somebody just not think and throw that out in their last device refresh?

    The NHS made the right choice selecting a standards-compliant EHR system for their recent changeover. Adhering to industry standards like HL7 will ensure that this problem will never happen with the new system they have in place.
  • The records are longer than the legal maximum retention period. You can't expect hospitals to keep every X-Ray you ever had forever, not only is there privacy issues (some people don't like the idea) the cost of unlimited data retention is enormous. He should have requested it while it was still within the legal time for it to be kept, otherwise anything more is just a favour to him that they can get it to him at all even with the fee, because it costs money to bring an obsolete system back online, as it wa

  • That's a ton of money!
  • ... to get your records from the NHS that I've come across is when you want to transfer to a private doctor. In which case when the right conversations have been had you don't even pay the £10.

  • Why should he have to pay more because his files are on an old computer system. For instance you don't pay your IT guy more when he puts a file on an old system and can't get it off. Now I know this is an old system but still someone must be able to go in and get it.
  • by DoctorOz ( 2770019 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:32AM (#41916233)
    Let me preface this by saying I'm a medical practitioner, and I read the story He has a written report of he cardiac ultrasound, and he has a written report of it. The data he wants are the 'still images' of his ultrasound. An ultrasound is a live, dynamic test that looks at the heart as it moves, its not like an xray or CT where a single image gives you the data you want. While single images are often recorded (mostly medico-legially I believe), at the end of the day, he wants to compare some still images from his cardiac ultrasound taken 10 years ago to the images taken recently. Not worth doing, exceeding rare that 'any' useful comparison could be made. I agree there is no need to store TB's of data for ultrasounds, though the fact that they still have it is interesting in itself!

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter