Do I Need Medical Records for a New Doctor?

Do I Need Medical Records for a New Doctor – Overview

You could go to a new doctor for a variety of reasons. It could be that you have moved to another city or state, or are not satisfied with your previous doctor’s service, or any other reason. In such situations, you may wonder if you need to obtain your medical records for the new doctor.

The simple answer is yes; you must take your medical records to a new doctor. This is necessary for the new doctor to evaluate your condition and prescribe effective treatment options. To ensure efficient and optimal treatment, you must bring certain types of useful medical information to a new physician or healthcare provider.

In this post, we shall look at some of the most useful health information you need to bring to the first visit with a new primary healthcare physician.

Importance of Medical Records

While it’s highly recommended to share your medical history with a new doctor, it’s essential to understand that your consent is required for the transfer of medical records due to privacy laws such as HIPAA in the United States. Patients often need to authorize the release of their records from their previous healthcare provider to the new one. Usually, patients bring only their current medicine prescription to their first visit, and the new doctor has to request the patient’s detailed health information from their previous physician.

This often takes some time and thus delays the doctor from evaluating the condition and prescribing treatment. The first visit to a new doctor can often be less satisfactory than imagined.

Even though the new doctor can interview you and perform a physical exam, it is more difficult if the patient is older. Thus, having the patient’s extensive medical record beforehand can help save precious time for the physician and patient. This makes a huge difference in the promptness and quality of healthcare a patient receives from a new doctor.

6 Types of Useful Medical Information to Take to a New Doctor

Do I need Medical Records for a New Doctor

The most useful medical records to take to a new doctor

Here is a list of medical records to take to a new doctor to ensure the first visit is more useful. This list contains documents especially useful for aging adults with chronic health problems seeking primary care from a new doctor.

However, most of these documents can come in handy for adults and children who visit a new primary care physician for their first visit. This list of medical records can also make the difference between life and death in emergency and urgent care cases.

Let’s take a look at some of the most useful medical records to take to a new doctor:

1 – Chronic health conditions

Compiling a list of ongoing and significant past health conditions is crucial, including the diagnosis dates and any major changes in your health status. This historical context helps your new healthcare provider understand your health journey and manage your conditions more effectively. Besides this, you can also include other major health problems that you have experienced but are not being treated for currently.

Today, electronic medical records usually automatically generate a list of a patient’s health conditions. However, these lists tend to be long and cluttered with different diagnoses that could still be relevant. So, make sure to keep a list according to the problems your previous primary care physician treated you for.

2 – List of medication

Make sure to make a list of all prescribed medicines and any over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements you might be consuming. It is also helpful to highlight new or recently started medications, recently stopped medications, and medications that have caused problems in the past.

3 – Lab Test results

These commonly include any blood and urine tests you may have undergone previously, besides other lab test results from the past 1 to 2 years.

Some of the specific lab test results that are especially helpful for a first visit to a new physician are:

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count) test
  • Thyroid function tests – TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) and FT4 (Free Thyroxine)
  • Urine analysis
  • Electrolyte panel test – includes testing for potassium, sodium, chloride, CO2
  • Renal panel test – involves BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) and creatinine tests.

Bringing copies of recent lab test results can provide valuable insights into your health status, allowing your new doctor to make informed decisions about your care without unnecessary repeat testing. This is also an effective way for the new doctor to determine any pattern or trend from the dates of the tests. It is often extremely helpful to compare the test results from the latest test to the previous ones.

4 – Diagnostic imaging reports

Gather diagnostic imaging reports such as X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs from the last few years. These documents can provide critical diagnostic information, helping your new doctor assess your condition accurately.

5 – Diagnostic Test results

You should also carry other medical diagnostic reports, including EKGs, pulmonary function tests, biopsy results, cardiac catheterization reports, neurophysiology evaluation reports, etc., for a first visit. This helps determine if a previous diagnosis is related to a chronic health condition.

6 – Emergency department reports

You should also try to get a copy of the narrative reports that doctors make when a patient comes in for emergency medical services or needs to be hospitalized. Healthcare providers for use by other medical professionals, including primary care physicians, generate these reports.

Hence, these reports will help the new doctor decide if your current chronic condition results from a previous emergency medical problem.

In this, you should bring along the emergency room clinical note, which is dictated or typed by the emergency room physician. It also includes the hospital admission history and physical test documents, which the admitting doctor creates when a patient is initially admitted into the hospital or emergency room.

In addition, you should attach a hospital discharge summary that the discharging doctor writes when a patient is released from the hospital.


Providing comprehensive medical records to a new healthcare provider is crucial for ensuring continuity of care, enabling prompt and accurate diagnosis, and facilitating effective treatment planning. The above-listed medical documents are essential for prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment of your health problem. These help your new doctor to learn about your health history and offer effective healthcare services.

See Also

Medical Records Online for Free

HIPAA Medical Records Release Laws

How Long Do Doctors Keep Medical Records

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