The Challenges of Producing Medical Records

Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert, United States District Court, D. New Jersey, in  Peterson v. Matlock, 11-2594 (FLW)(DEA). (D.N.J.Oct. 29, 2014), denied plaintiffs motion to compel defendants to produce plaintiff’s electronically stored medical records in “native readable format” after the defendants produced the records in PDF format.   The court agreed that defendants had demonstrated undue burden in complying with the plaintiff’s request.
Medical records have always been problematic because they can come from a variety of sources  – surgery, pharmacy, radiology, ICU, emergency, etc. – with different formats and databases for each.  Many times a hospital has to have a nurse go through each record to extract and compile them manually for production – which can be a tedious task.  The merging of hospitals with different record management programs has only exacerbated the problem.
Although hospitals are trying to standardize record formats, they have a long way to go! For these reasons, it is always a good idea to work with vendors experienced in this field.