Patients Requesting Dental Records Released

This Dental Receptionist resource document provides step by step instructions on how to handle a patient that calls and asks for their records to be forwarded to a new dentist, regardless of the reason.


From time to time, patients will decide to leave our office for different reasons. They may be moving, getting a second opinion, going to an in-network provider, etc… When that happens, they usually call to request that we release their records to the new dentist. When receiving a call from a patient regarding a record release:

  1. FIND OUT WHY THEY ARE LEAVING. You should ask something like: “Of course I can release your records, but may I ask why you are seeing the other dentist?” Your purpose here is to find out why the patient is wanting a record release. You want to see if there is something that our office did that we could try to fix and/or if the patient is leaving us permanently or intends to come back to us?

  2. TRY TO REPAIR THE SITUATION IF IT IS SOMETHING WE CAN FIX: Once you know the reason, if it something that we can try to repair, immediately attempt to handle the issue with the patient and/or escalate the call to an employee that can.

  3. IF LEAVING AND WE CAN’T REPAIR IT: If you find that the patient is leaving for a reason that we cannot fix, such as moving, then you need to ask them to fill out a Record Release Authorization Form found in Office Forms and/or minimally ask them to send us a written request via email so we can put that into their file. (The written request is only for doctors that they have chosen to go to – we do not need that request if we are forwarding records to our specialists for our patient’s care).

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