Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Personal Health Records

One of the great potential benefits from consumers in the plan to roll out e-health programs is the improvement in the connection and integration of care. The development of personal held records which can be considered as a is of particular interest to comsumers.  This record would be owned and controlled by the individual consumer and the information it contains could be shared with designated clinicians, providing them with information that would assist them in treating our conditions. The National Health and Hosptial Reform Commission (NHHRC) developed this idea in their final report.

Recommendations 13, 115 and 120 of the NHHRC Final Report are about the need for every Australian to be able to have a personal electronic health record that will at all times be owned and controlled by that person. This is important to support people’s decision making and management of their own health. The Commission called for this by 2012.

Many consumers are already doing this in hard copy or on their computers. Many of the people we speak with you have Chronic Conditions understand that a personal held record is an important tool in managing their own health and making decisions. One of our members had a red A4 folder which he and his wife always travelled with. The folder has details of his diagnosis, medication, hospital visits, doctors and test results. Another consumer has told us about his simple, A4 double sided document that he keeps in this wallet. One of the participants in our recent training for consumer representatives. Julie Derrett spoke with Brian and he shared his story:

Brian has a heart condition and has had numerous visits to the emergency department for his condition. He carries with him a little red book which lists all of his medication history, strength, dosage, date started and reasons for any changes. He also has a letter from his cardiologist which explains his condition and his medical history.
When doctors at the ED ask him what medications he is on, he simply produces the red book. Doctors comment, “I wish all patients did this, it helps so much with diagnosis and misdiagnosis in the ED”
When travelling interstate in a rural area the letter from the cardiologist proved to be invaluable. ED staff in a regional centre were able to contact B’s cardiologist and get advice so that the right medications were administered quickly.
This simple paper based, personally held record has meant that Brian has received timely, well informed advice and treatment when he has attended the emergency department. He thinks that everyone who has a chronic condition should have something like this. If not a small book, then a fold out credit card sized summary document that could be carried in your wallet.
We are interested to collect stories from consumers about personal held health records. We would like to know the information you collect, when do you use it? when have you found it to be of most value? have you changed over time the information you have in the record?

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