How many pages

does it take to duplicate a medical record?

Well, it is a lot. At least when accounting for 30 years in “one practice.” Since the military uses a consolidated, cumulative record that “goes where ever you go” (provided that the information from the pre-electronic medical record actually ever made it back into permanent records).

Even if one rarely got seen – there are records checks which are recorded, routine physicals, mandatory blood work. Now, with the new electronic record there is little to no reason to conserve space. Forms don’t take up electrons. Blank space doesn’t take up much room. But when you got to print out an electronic visit – what used to be one of three visits on one side of a double used page now takes up three pages all by itself (that is right – where up to six used to be on one sheet -> probably 18 pages).

Even having gotten LRMC medical records room to print out a lot for me – it was still pages and pages and pages of print.

There is a logical reason to be doing this – the VA wants as complete a copy of your medical record as you can provide. They don’t accept electronic copies – it has to be hard copy paper. If I am going through the effort of doing this, unfortunately it means that conserving trees doesn’t factor into the equation. Instead, I have to make it as clear as I can for the person who is going to have to wade through the mess. That means skipping the double sided printing.

Much of it is a copy of a copy since my originals took a walk a number of years ago (2005?) and have not turned up since. The few originals I had actually slowed things down – 30 year old flimsy paper doesn’t do well through a sheet feeder.

More than 1/2 a ream of paper (with all the AHLTA notes printed double sided anyway). Thinking, while I feeding through paper and organising the output, of jobs Carmen and I working at the University of MN library while undergrads – running a xerox machine……and thinking that I have come full circle after 40 years.

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8 Responses to How many pages

  1. Alison says:


    Yeah, I used to run the fancy state of the art self-collating Xerox
    paper factory of a machine at my job at Dames and Moore between college

  2. Carmen says:

    OMG – did you work at Diehl, too? I forgot that.
    I was going to guess 600pp total.

  3. Steve says:

    I ran an offset press in a mail room when I first graduated from Ohio State and was awaiting orders to active duty or planning on starting an urban internship in Chicago with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. I can still smell the ink. 🙂

  4. Bob says:

    At some point one must wonder if another human being will ever read through one’s medical record which took 20+ years to accumulate.

  5. Holly says:

    The scary thing is that yes, the VA does exactly that as part of determining disability ratings…

  6. Cat says:

    Do you write some of your own records like you could in the civilian world or is there a rule you must always go to someone else in the army?

  7. Holly says:

    Wouldn’t be particular legal under today’s credentials rules (Clinical Governance). In fact – I have seen disciplinary actions for people writing their own profiles and in the military you can’t write scripts for yourself

  8. Mark says:

    Getting your medical records together, that is fun. I am still working on getting a medical record from closed hospitals back in Feb 1980.

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