I had an idea regarding our PHI and therapists. First a few points/observations.
Many of us have already voiced our concerns over filing a complaint against a therapist because of the mental health patient vs “professional expert” handicap since there is no witness in the room it becomes a he said-she said scenario.
Well, not quite, there is a witness. A biased witness. The things the therapist puts down in our PHI. This silent witness further enhances our handicap as the therapist can put in or leave out (or ad) whatever he/she wishes. For example, “Writer informed client of XYZ” when in fact it never happened.
Now, I don’t know about the law in various states, but here in California we have what’s called “California Patient Access to Health Records Act” which allows us to request copies of our medical records and the provider has a specific amount of time thereafter to provide the copies. I asked and received mine, I’ve seen various comments from others online that they have as well, but I’ve also seen a couple of comments where the provider denied the request. You’ll just have to check your state law.
Now, in my case my PHI was in fact doctored/altered to support the claims of the therapist. I see other posts online where others have had the same or similar observations about their PHI when they received it, client did or said XYZ, when the client is adamant about it not happening/not saying any such thing.
I suggest a solution that’s reasonable, low cost, and can avoid the potential of this abuse or even the accusation of abuse that may have not happened. I don’t expect it to actually get a pulse though as I’ve seen enough to know this field coddles and protects itself.
My idea is 1) All States (or your country), adapt a patient PHI access law similar to California’s. 2) Require that the therapist provide a copy of the previous visit’s PHI to the client upon the next session. This way any discrepancies in fact and opinion can be dealt with while there is a current client/therapist relation and eliminates any reasonable possibility of document altering/doctoring somewhere down the line. The only weak link could be the PHI for the final session, but all previous reports will safely be on record. The only cost would be a moment to print the document and the paper it’s printed on. 3) Allow an ‘opt out’ option for patients that do not wish to have this information.
Now, the naysayers, (probably on the therapeutic side), might say that the client should not see what is written about them, the knowledge could be damaging. But I say bunk, we are adults trying to seek help. As adults we have the right to our diagnosis, it’s what you’d expect as a cancer patient, no? And since this is “therapy” why would harmful stuff be written about us in the first place? I’m not paying people to say cruel things, I get that for free in the outside world.
Anyway, this too turned into a long rant, but I hope I made sense. In hindsight it’s something I would have liked to see to not only keep my therapist honest, but to get an idea of my own progress or lack thereof in her eyes.