By: Evelyn Geisler
Fires. Earthquakes. Floods. Hurricanes. Things we don’t want to think about, that we don’t think can happen to us. But they can. Hurricane Katrina illustrated how quickly emergencies can arise that force people to abandon their homes. In the rush to get to safety, sometimes vital items are lost or forgotten. Health records are one of those things.
The good news is that now you can preserve those very important personal medical records online safely and securely. You simply sign up for the service from any one of several providers and then record all your medical information, such as drug doses and directions, doctor and dental visits, allergies, and personal information, online. Your caregivers can also download information into the health record, including lab test results, X-ray results, and other data.
Think of the convenience. If you have to visit an emergency room on the weekend, the staff can immediately access needed medical information without having to wait for a doctor’s office to open. If you are visiting a doctor for the first time, your records can be printed out and presented to office staff-no more need to fill out endless repetitious forms. Online personal health records allow you to:
- Track your health record, including health measurements and exercise
- Perform health risk assessments
- Search for healthcare providers in your area
- Keep a central listing of your healthcare and insurance providers
- Track and assess your daily nutrition
- Become more aware of and involved in your healthcare
- Learn about healthcare issues important to you
Most services also permit you to generate additional profiles for your family members under the same account, so that you can keep all of your family’s health information in a single location.
A few of the available sources for this service include myhealthkeeper.com (which offers special help for people with diabetes), tolven.org, and google.com/health. Some health insurance companies also offer this service to their clients.
It’s something you might want to think about, just in case, because people who sign up for online personal health records can eliminate at least one healthcare worry: They can always access their health records in time of need.