What if you get sick on the Saturday night of a holiday weekend and you have to call your doctor at home? How is he going to access your medical records without having to try to drive in to the office at midnight? Or what if another Hurricane Katrina-type storm forces you to evacuate to a different city and doctors are reduced to guessing both your medical history and exactly what medications you have been given (which did happen to Houston doctors and evacuee patients in 2005)?
A Personal Health Record available on the Web 24/7 would solve both problems.
"The PHR is the one place where you can accumulate all your health information in a consistent way to reflect your lifetime of care," [said] Donald Mon, a vice president at the American Health Information Management Association (as reported in the Houston Chronicle, 9/6/2006, p1D).
Also, one of the first questions asked at the doctor's office tends to be what health issues have you had in the past? Right on the heels of this question is usually what health issues has your immediate family had? Here is a government site that lets you load a detailed family medical history and then retrieve it from any Internet PC.
More and more doctors and hospitals are keeping medical records electronically. Hospitals have now been known to not only barcode medications but barcode patients (i.e. their ID bracelets) so that the right patients are given the right medications/procedures while in the hospital. This just takes it a step further.
The American Health Information Management Association site has links to a number of different PHR providers, some free and some which charge a fee. Also, at this site you can choose if you want information on having your PHR on the Internet, only on your personal computer, or just a paper record.
According to the same Houston Chronicle article, sometimes the doctor's office pays the [PHR] subscription and the individual patients are not charged to have their records on the Web. The next time you visit your doctor, ask if his office participates in a PHR program!
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