Take control of your Health

This might not be a sexy title, but it’s an important issue to me. I recently read there are developers in northwest Georgia creating a patient-focused health information exchange after receiving a $1.7 million grant from the Feds. Why should this matter?

Many states have developed ways for hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies to electronically share information – but the patients aren’t able to participate in this exchange. Patients should be able to choose who has access to their health information.

I’ve been to multiple medical specialists over the past 5 years with many, many follow-ups. It is sometimes a frustrating task for me because of the paperwork involved. It would be wonderful to have all my health information digitally in one place to include MRI scans and mammogram images.

After a bit of searching, I found there are organizations that do offer an online-based service. Microsoft HealthVault is one of those and the service is free. You can have doctors fax records directly to this service…documents or images (or do it yourself), keep track of prescriptions, etc. You can even access this site through your smartphone. Then there is ZenVault…they have a mobile app that lets you retrieve your personal health records anytime – privately and securely. But their Premium membership has a monthly fee attached to it.

Or you can use The Mayo Clinic Health Manager. The Mayo Clinic has a customized web interface powered by Microsoft’s HealthVault records storage system. Anyone can start an online secure account here, regardless of whether they are a patient with the Mayo Clinic. Use of the service is again free. Users also have total control over what information they share with others. Bingo.

It’s not just the record keeping in one place at Mayo. The Mayo Clinic emphasizes preventative family medicine with their exchange and lets you manage all of a family’s records with one single interface. Plus their software solution looks at your medical data and demographic to recommend regular health routines and management…free advice. You can also track results (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, whatever you are tracking) to help better communicate with your personal healthcare providers.

I think this is a step in the right direction to help take control of your health…while lowering costs and saving valuable time too.


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