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Seniors Should Not Forget Medical Records as Holiday Travel Approaches

Personal health records allow seniors to take control of their health files during holiday travels all over the world

By C. Arnold Curry, M.D., MBA & CEO of Medical Records Systems

Senior on vacation making photoNov 6, 2014 - As thousands of senior travelers make plans to visit family this holiday season, they may not know that the top item to pack should be their electronic personal health record.

Seniors should build an up-to-date electronic medical record before hitting the road, in addition to packing festive clothes and holiday gifts.  These records should provide travelers with access to their complete health history including electronic medical records, digital image studies, vaccines, medications and other special health conditions. Having an electronic personal health record provides easy access in the case of emergency or for added convenience when seeing physicians outside of the city in which senior travelers live.

When emergencies happen, it’s important to have medical records on hand immediately for prompt and accurate medical diagnosis. In the past, medical records were not easily accessible when traveling, however, technology has changed all of that. Now, solutions such as those afforded by Medical Records Systems help senior travelers control their health files from anywhere online, allowing them to worry less about an emergency and focus on plans to relax and have fun away from home.

Here are a few tips for senior travelers before leaving for warmer weather:

  ●  Compile medical records from all physicians and medical specialists in one accessible place.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), all medical providers are required to allow patients access and to obtain copies of all medical records – including x-ray and other images, blood work, allergic relations and more Cost of printing or mailing documents is not covered, but doctors’ offices are not allowed to charge for access to the records. Many larger health organizations will have a medical records or health information department at which to request access to medical records at one convenient location.

 

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  ●  Upload all documents into an electronic personal health record.

This allows for quick and easy access to necessary health information in travel destinations throughout the world.  Options, like those afforded by Medical Records Systems, provide paper medical record scanning and uploading for their members. Many medical offices only keep a patient’s health records on file for seven years, making documentation of health history in an electronic personal health record essential for long-term health.

  ●  Ensure that all records are stored securely.

Privacy and security are a concern when uploading sensitive medical documents to an online system. Any personal health record system selected should be designed to meet HIPPA security standards. Additional security is recommended, such as the advanced encryption used to secure personal health information by Medical Records Systems.

  ●  Update all records with the most current versions.

Personal health records should be updated with the most current medical studies such as colonoscopies and mammograms. Each time a new study is taken, it should be uploaded into the electronic personal health record so that all physicians and medical professionals have access to the most most-up-to-date health information.

  ●  Keep your family informed.

Before leaving, leave contact info for physicians and medical specialists with family or close contacts. This provides first responders an additional method to access personal health information in the event of an emergency in addition to access to an electronic personal health record. 

Notes: For more information about Medical Records Systems, visit www.trustmrs.com.

About the Author:

Dr. Arnold Curry is the founder and CEO of Medical Records Systems. He developed the online health record system after witnessing patients struggle to control, organize and consolidate all of their health files. Dr. Curry is currently the medical director at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, N.M.

He has worked as a clinical instructor at Harper-Grace Hospital in Detroit, as a guest instructor at Wayne State University School of Medicine and is the former chief of the oncology department at Southwest Detroit Hospital. His work has been published in hematology and oncology journals and is a registered investigator with the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Curry holds an M.D. from Rush Medical School and an MBA from Michigan State University.

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