Why is it so important to access your personal health information? There are many reasons, of course.
Let’s take a moment and create a scenario. You are in an oral surgeon’s office waiting to be seen for a dental extraction consultation. You fill out an endless amount of paperwork, and one of the questions you are asked is to list your current medications. You write down your regular maintenance medications for blood pressure and cholesterol. You submit your documents and wait to be seen by the surgeon or nurse practitioner and their staff.
At the end of the appointment, you and your provider agree that the tooth needs to be extracted and schedule your next appointment. On the morning of your surgery, you follow all of the instructions given to you by the surgical staff, including not taking your blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
You show up at the office on time, the surgery is going well, and you go home to sleep without anesthesia. Throughout the evening, you noticed that at the extraction site, you still bleed a little. You call the surgeon and decide that maybe you should go meet him in his office to make sure everything is okay.
As the surgeon examines the extraction site, you suddenly realize that you never told the surgeon that you were taking Coumadin (a blood thinner)!
Now there are a lot of things the surgeon could have done to prevent this from happening, but ultimately it was the patient’s responsibility to disclose all of their medication history. How could the patient have prevented this from happening? One solution is to have access to all your health information or even better: to have access to your health information on your smartphone.
This leads us to ask ourselves “why?” Why weren’t we using this tool and why weren’t healthcare professionals offering this service to all of their patients when it was first introduced?
The biggest concern for many people was the fear that the information might be hacked or that the information might be passed on to a third-party application, which could lead to information being leaked, so that medical institutions might find it difficult to maintain their clientele.
Another reason that patients have difficulty obtaining information about their health is that healthcare professionals cite “HIPAA” (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) as the reason they do not disclose health information. .
On the contrary, since 1996, HIPAA has required any healthcare facility “to provide patients with access to all” easily achievable “data in the format requested by the patient. “
Fortunately, as technology evolves, so do our trends and desires. That said, nearly 77% of Americans own a smart device, which gives patients access to many different health apps and information, all in the palm of their hand.
For iPhone users, there is a “Health” app that allows your phone to sync with many other health devices like FitBit, Apple Watch, blood pressure monitors, etc. which can then all be submitted to your. doctor.
Another program that helps to decrease the stereotype that it is unsafe to allow patients to access their health information is Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Open Notes, which not only allows patients to access their health information. health information, but also encourages patients to contribute to their own Medical Charter.
Other resources that healthcare facilities implement this phenomenon are Rapid Interoperability Resources for Healthcare (FHIR) and Healthcare Information Technology (SMART) applications for substitutable medical applications.
Other supporting companies that partner with healthcare institutions are Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to help store and securely transfer patient health information.
The benefits of health information technology are endless and are a powerful and useful tool not only for patients, but also for physicians and research teams to provide better and more personalized care.
Dr. Rushi S. Patel, DDS, Ph.D., who specializes in citrus oral and facial surgery, is board certified and a graduate of Lecanto High School. Visit the web at www.citrusofs.com.