Home Medical Records
Where are your medical records?
Probably with your doctor, as they should be. Your doctor needs these records to track your care and provide the best treatment.
But it's also a good idea to have your own copy of your health records.
Your medical records are called your personal health record, or PHR. And when viewed over the Internet, health records are called an electronic health record (EHR) or electronic medical record (EMR).
You'll need your health records if you change doctors, move, get sick when you're away from home, or end up in an emergency room. If any of these things happen and you have your records, you may get treatment more quickly and it will be safer.
Keep a summary of your PHR in a safe place. And be sure that someone you trust also knows where you keep it.
What to keep with you
Keep personal information and current and past health information.
Personal information includes:
Current health information includes:
Your medical history also is important. Keep track of:
You can write a short summary of this information and keep a copy in your files and in your wallet or purse. You also can keep this information on a portable storage device for computers.
What to keep at home
Having medical records for each member of your family can help you make better health decisions. Records to keep include:
If possible include:
How to get started and store your medical information
Get a copy of your health records from your family doctor and anywhere you've received health care. To get started, call your family doctor and ask for your records, or wait until your next visit. Ask your doctor if he or she can help you make a personal health record. Your family doctor also may be able to help you find other places where you may have medical records, such as at a hospital.
You may need to sign an "authorization for the release of information" form. You may need to complete this form for every facility that you request records from.
You also may be asked to pay for copies of your records and the time it takes to make copies. You also may be charged for mailing fees. Ask how long it will take to receive your copies.
After you have your information, you need to organize it. Here are some ideas:
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) sponsors an Internet site where you can search for paper-based, software-based, and Internet-based personal health records. Go to www.myphr.com.
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