Electronic Medical Records

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The future of health care is here now. Electronic Medical Records offer the most innovative and helpful medical tool since antibiotics, if people and the medical field are willing to accept them.

Personal Health Records or PHR’s are a central database offering your complete medical history to whatever medical professionals you want to share it with. Google Health is the service that East Coast Health Insurance recommends due to the strength of their company in all fields of technology.

The difficult part is working backwards to upload all of your prior medical records from multiple sources. Google Health, however, offers a secure service that has a link to the insurance company records, pharmacies, and many doctors and will gather and upload the data for you, for a price.

Additionally, if you have a chronic condition like diabetes you can buy a glucose monitor that uploads your daily results to your PHR.  You can even monitor your moods if you suffer from depression.

Best of all, is the fact that your family history and genetic dispositions will be at a quick flick of the mouse for emergency situations, which one can imagine are more frequent then any of us care to think about.

An important thing to be aware of is that if you allow the upload of a record or diagnosis that is incorrect, it can be held against you either by an insurance company or in a medical situation.  Some PHR’s will let you delete, correct, or explain the incorrect activity.

The health insurance implications for individual health insurance are the most important.  Right now, when you apply for an individual health insurance policy, your insurance company will pull your MIB information, which is a code that is recorded every time you file you claim with a health insurance company.  Additionally, Ingenix collects all of your prescription history, whether you like it or not, every time you either go to a pharmacy chain or use your health insurance to fill a prescription.

This is already happening, and these two agencies allow health insurance companies to decline health insurance applicants every day. PHR’s will not make the situation any better, but nor should they make it worse.

Privacy issues are the reason to use a reputable service like Google Health instead of a lesser known service that could actually legally sell your data.  The law explicitly states that once your medical records leave your doctor’s office they are no longer subjected to the more intense HIPPA privacy laws.  Of course, most companies will still not breach the code of ethics in order to make extra money, but on the other hand they could.   Make sure you review the fine print of the privacy policy of the company you choose.

Eventually, most privacy experts will get the law fixed so that PHR’s are more protected by HIPAA, but in the meantime if this is a big concern you can always keep your records on a flash drive offline.  There is another offline service called myPHR.com which helps you find offline and paper PHR companies as an alternative for those that are concerned with privacy issues.


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