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Jewish World Review
April 28, 2006
/ 30 Nissan, 5766
Online medical record service a winner
It may be one of the few things President Bush, Senate Majority Leader
Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. and Barack
Obama, D-Ill., all agree on: in less than 10 years from now, every
American should have an electronic medical record that's instantly
accessible. The President touted this at a Small Business Administration
event last week; the aforementioned Senators were among the co-sponsors of
a 2005 bill, S.1262, to promote such records.
But many of us - as in almost everyone has their records on paper right
now, probably in more than one doctor's or dentist's office, and perhaps
in way more than one geographic location. I've seen health professionals
in New York, Washington, Virginia, Maryland and California and that's
just in the past ten years.
At the same time, not having everything online can be more than a hassle:
it could be life threatening. Robert Lorsch, a Beverly Hills entrepreneur,
philanthropist and cancer survivor, nearly died from a prescription
interaction that could have been avoided, understands this better than
many, and created an online service to help. MyMedicalRecords.com (stet),
which I've been testing for the past few weeks, is a remarkable product.
For around $80 per year, a family of up to six people can have their
paper-based medical files, not to mention X-rays and other imaging work,
stored securely online for retrieval just about anywhere.
According to Mr. Lorsch, a recent study published in the Mayo Clinic
Proceedings shows that an alarming number of people being discharged from
hospitals know little about their diagnoses and prescribed medications.
The study found that 62 percent of patients didn't know the purpose of
their medications; 86 percent didn't know the side effects of their
medications and 58 percent were unable to provide their diagnosis.
The way MyMedicalRecords works is rather impressive: subscribers get a
personal toll-free number that anyone can use to fax items to or leave a
voice message. An e-mail alerts subscribers that the fax or voice message
is in; the user can then log on to "file" the item in an appropriate
location by patient, provider, or whatever.
You can also create an "emergency" file that any health care provider,
anywhere, can reach via phone and use to retrieve critical information. If
you're traveling, or unconscious, this service, which comes with a wallet
card you can carry, is invaluable.
In testing, the service is very easy to use; faxing works just fine and
the documents come across perfectly. I've also used the calendar service
to make sure I'm on track for my next doctor's appointment; I'll get
e-mail 24 hours before in order to remind me.
A side benefit to this, of course, is that the electronic records, hosted
on a secure server, are an excellent backup in case of fire, flood or as
was seen in Louisiana and Mississippi last year hurricane. Under the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA,
you're entitled to ask your physician to fax those records to your number.
Along with medical records, copies of other sensitive items such as
passports, wills, stock certificates, can also be securely stored online,
and then retrieved via the Web or a phone call. What MyMedicalRecords.com
really ends up being is an "electronic safe deposit box," with lower cost
and easier access than any bank. I think it's worth checking out, at
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com