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© 1998, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


The health care system in the United States is changing in ways that require consumers to take more responsibility for their health. The preventive philosophy of health care demands that we move from passive recipients to active consumers of health care. A very important part of health care is maintaining accurate medical records for yourself and members of your family.

You may say, "My physician keeps that record." Have you ever seen a copy of that file? Do you have just one health care provider responsible for your care? Does your medical provider pay your bills? How private is your record? Is your record easily accessible for emergencies? The answers to these questions should underscore the importance of maintaining your own record.

When treatment is required in today's changing health care climate, knowing your rights and having an accurate medical record can help you secure more efficient and effective care with less confusion or duplication of services.