If I decide to release information from my health care records, how might I reduce the risks from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking?

Get help and information:

Do advance planning for sharing:

  • Discuss what will be released with your provider, along with how it might be shared, and what will happen to the information.
  • Make sure what is shared is accurate. Ask to your care provider to show you any written documents before they are shared, or to describe what he or she will say in any conversations about you.
  • Choose a method of sharing that will reduce the risks of unintended disclosures. For example, a phone call between care providers may be less likely to result in unintended disclosures than a written letter from one provider to another, which may be read by others.
  • If the person you are afraid of might see what you shared, be sure that you are informed in advance about when the sharing will occur. If that is not possible, be sure that you are informed about the sharing as soon as possible after it happens.

Limit sharing to the minimum necessary to accomplish your purpose:

  • Give your care provider written permission using a written “release” or “consent form” whenever possible.
  • Be sure you understand the purpose for sharing your information. Limit what you share to what is needed that purpose.
  • Limit the time for your consent to the minimum time needed to share the information.
  • Only release your information to people who need to see it.