I have become an avid fan of personal health records (PHR). Personal Health Records are online sites that offer a home base for medical records. I hadn’t thought about it very much until I had several new clients with complicated medical histories. Unfortunately, the clients had been seen by multiple doctors, specialists and hospitals making medical history information difficult to get. Many people don’t have copies of their medical records. It becomes my task to get copies of records, overcoming medical records departments HIPAA inconsistencies and costs. I often have to forgo parts of the record because the cost can get into the $100s.
If there was one place, secure and password protected, everyone’s job would be easier. How many times have I been to a specialist appointment with a client and the records have not arrived or were never sent. The specialist may then want to order another round of tests and not be able to provide immediate answers. It is such an inconvenience.
Or a new doctor asks about medications. It would be nice to have a list of current medications as well as all the drugs that were tried and didn’t work. It would be less stress for the patient and family.
By having personal medical records, I will be more in control of my records. The records will available to me when I need them or when I end up in the ER. Cost to get copies would be nonexistent. Accessibility would available to anyone chosen.
I long for records that I can easily be able to access with a client’s permission. I know there are still problems with the existing programs. I have been waiting for the programs to become more user friendly. A major issue is, the vast number of medical records programs that exist. These programs do not interface with each other. Many radiological programs also do not speak the same program language. In large systems like Partners in Massachusetts, many hospitals and doctors offices are linked by utilizing the same medical records program. The information doesn’t get garbled or mistranslated.
I know it isn’t something that is going to happen soon. The financial costs are huge. There are still many practices that don’t use electronic medical records. My endocrinologist told me the other day, if he is forced to change to medical records, he will retire. I asked him why and he told me the programs were so expensive. I told him about Fusion online medical records as an option.
Making major changes in this area is a tall order. But I say let’s start the conversation in earnest so medical information is always in real time. Let’s take away the cost burden of getting medical records. My advise if you want to start getting records, ask for a copy of the medical note. The office can send you a copy.