Posts Tagged ‘medical records’

How Safe is your Personal Health Information?


By Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk

People worry about the security of their identity, financial and medical information when they hear stories of hacker attacks on large commercial and government websites, including AOL, Hotmail, Microsoft, MySpace, NASA, Sony, Stratfor, USBank, VeriSign, VISA, Xbox, Yahoo, and many others. They also worry when they read about Target, Google, Facebook, and Twitter pushing privacy boundaries and taking liberties with their collected customer data. Both types of stories dilute trust.

It doesn’t much help if a company that overreaches and gets caught simply promises to do better, and then if public outrage prompts potential legislation, they join industry initiatives to propose new plans for self-regulation, such as the publication of privacy policies that users seldom read.

This article addresses the question, “How Safe is your Personal Health Information?” It examines the benefits and security risks of storing your personal health information online, based on my own personal experiences and decades of IT experience. But I’d like to hear of your experiences in the comments section too.

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Let me down Easy is a must-watch performance

image from Let Me Down Easy on PBS.orgYvonne and I loved Anna Deavere Smith’s solo performance of Let Me Down Easy, which blends theatrics, journalism and social commentary about Healthcare, and I highly recommend watching it. PBS aired the program as part of its Great Performances series this week on Friday the 13th, how fitting with the state of our nation’s healthcare system. Here’s what they said about it.

She performs 19 characters in the course of an hour and thirty five minutes. Their stories are alternately humorous and heart-wrenching, and often a blend of both. Building upon each other with hypnotic force, her subjects recount personal encounters with the frailty of the human body, ranging from a mere brush with mortality, coping with an uncertain future in today’s medical establishment, to confronting an end of life transition. The testimony of health care professionals adds further texture to a vivid portrayal of the cultural and societal attitudes to matters of health.

Watch this 2:10 min video preview;

Read about what PBS had to say and what New York Times critics said; or

Watch the entire performance on if you missed the live broadcast and didn’t record it. With an AppleTV or an Internet-connected TV you can probably stream the content to your big screen for  the entire family.

My Family Health Portrait, a tool from the Surgeon General

image of family from FamilyHistory.hhs.govTalking with your health care worker about your family health history can help you stay healthy!

Using My Family Health Portrait you can:

  • Enter your family health history.
  • Print your family health history to share with family or your health care worker.
  • Save your family health history so you can update it over time.

Selected Q&A

Why is family health history useful?

Your family health history can help your health care practitioner provide better care for you. It can help identify whether you have higher risk for some diseases. It can help your health care practitioner recommend actions for reducing your personal risk of disease. And it can help in looking for early warning signs of disease.

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The Future of U.S. Healthcare, by Barry Bittman, MD

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Maintaining Personal Health Records

Medical Alert Options

What would you want the ER doctor to know about you, or your loved one? And how would you tell them? Let us know in the comments below.

Lee Howard produced this YouTube video to share her experience and endorse electronic medical records as an alternative to paper. She had scheduled a visit to the Mayo Clinic to help with a difficult diagnosis and was worried sick because her twin sister died earlier. She thought she might have the same thing. The clinic asked for a thorough medical history, but the records were spread everywhere and were in paper form. Lee’s nursing background gave her insight into how to gather and present them in a binder for the medical staff.

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Google Health end is near

Google HealthOn June 24th, Google announced that it’s retiring its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) project, Google Health, with personal data available for download through 2012. Google created the service to give people access to their personal health and wellness information. They hoped to translate their success in other consumer-centered domains into healthcare but were apparently disappointed in slower than expected adoption rates.

Google Health was one of several EHR/EMR products described in an article by Shannon Martin, Choosing a service for Electronic Personal Health Records.

Electronic Personal Health Records

This article is republished with permission from Shannon Martin, Aging Wisely, LLC. The original article is available here.

Personal Health Records (PHRs) or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are undoubtedly the next wave in our ever expanding “online life”. According to, “ A personal health record (PHR) is a confidential and easy-to-use tool for managing information about your health. A PHR is usually an electronic file or record of your health information and recent services, such as your medical conditions, allergies, medications, and doctor or hospital visits that can be stored in one place, and then shared with others, as you see fit. You control how the information in your PHR is used and who can access it. PHRs are usually used on the Internet so that you can look up your information wherever you are.” Typically the term EMR is used to refer to the records held by other parties (doctor, hospital, insurance company), just like you old medical chart. However, you will often see the terms used interchangeably.

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