Maintaining copies of your medical tests and procedures plays a vital role in taking charge of your own healthcare and being your own advocate. Do you know that, by law, you are entitled to have copies of your medical records? Do you keep copies of tests for your own knowledge and review and to show your other physicians?
There are a variety of ways to store records. One is the paper method to keep in a folder or notebook. Having a “hard copy” of your records is never a bad thing, but more and more physician offices and medical institutions are using the technological approach: electronic records.
Log in to benefit your health:
Patient Portals, Personal Health Records (PHR), Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) have the ability to store family and personal histories, immunizations, diagnoses, prescriptions, lab and medical test results just by signing onto a website. Depending upon the system used by your healthcare team and institution, storing records electronically offers the following advantages:
- Records can be accessed from any device whether the doctor’s computer, your tablet, laptop or smartphone
- Information relating to you as a patient is stored in a more organized method and because the records are electronic, there is no limit to the amount of information that can be stored
- Data trending such as your weight, blood pressure, and lab values (for example CK levels) can be viewed in a list or graph view
- Drug interactions can be automatically captured to help prevent medication errors
- Communication with your medical professionals can become more streamlined in a secure, online environment
- Prescription refills can be requested
- Educational materials related to your health based on your diagnoses, tests, and procedures can be easily viewed
- Caregivers can be provided access to medical records to better coordinate care
- Coordination of your healthcare among all of your doctors, as well as any new doctors, can be done more efficiently
By using electronic medical records and providing access to them via a “portal,” both physicians and patients have a complete view of your health. Some physicians have even reported using these systems while at home or on vacation to check on a patient’s progress.
Ask your doctor’s office and hospital if they have a “patient portal” and how you can log in to benefit your health.
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