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Why You Should Be Tracking Your Health in a Personal Health Record

Why You Should Be Tracking Your Health in a Personal Health Record

We are all responsible for our own health. Our doctors are trusted advisers, but we are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making sure we are following their prescriptions, leading a healthy life, taking our medications as prescribed, and generally following their instructions.

Keeping track of all of this data is a chore. In the past, many patients with chronic conditions resorted to three ring binders stuffed full of their health information, but in today’s ubiquitously digital world, there are better ways. In this article we’ll be talking about Personal Health Record (PHR) software—an easy way to stay on top of your health.

What is a personal health record?

Personal Health Records are software applications that store and allow you to access information about your health conditions on your phone or in a web browser.

The range of information stored varies greatly by application, but at a minimum you can expect to see information about your doctors, the medications your are taking, a list of your medical conditions, allergies, prior surgeries, test reports and upcoming appointments. More advanced packages incorporate warnings about medication adverse events, patient education links to help you manage your health, tracking of key measurements such as weight, height, blood pressure, and much more.

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A PHR is not a patient portal provided by your hospital or doctor. It’s private software that can be used to aggregate all the data from portals into one consistent timeline of your health, as well as allowing you to add data that only you have.

PHR’s are not new, but the older crop of software was cumbersome and unwieldy. New flexible design approaches are recruiting a loyal user base of people with chronic conditions who need to manage their health more successfully.

How does this differ from using other health apps?

Other health apps such as fitbit step trackers are typically focused on very specific areas—such as fitness—whereas PHRs are designed to incorporate all aspects of your health. Many PHRs will allow you to seamlessly add data from your apple health or other health app software to provide an overall perspective on your health data.

Why would I store my personal health data online?

Storing your health data online is largely a matter of convenience for you, your family, and your doctor. This must be counterbalanced with the risk that someone may choose to hack into your PHR provider’s database and steal this data.

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First the bad news: the vast majority of health care institutions in the US have either already been hacked or expect to be hacked in the next two years, so there’s a good chance that at least part of your health record has already been stolen.

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    For all of this doom and gloom, you still can take steps to ensure you have a reasonable chance of privacy. Don’t just sign up blindly; take the time to review your prospective vendors security page and make sure they have had some form of external security audit performed in the last twelve months. Carefully read the terms and conditions and make sure you know what you are getting into before you press the “OK” button.

    Can I share my PHR data with my doctor and/or my family?

    Absolutely. Many PHRs allow you to add members of your family or physicians as members of your “Care Team,” thus ensuring that they can see and sometimes even add key information about your health. This can be particularly convenient for those of us with senior parents who sometimes need to act as go-betweens in a complex network of physicians and other care providers.

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      Some apps provide convenient summary screens that you can simply hand to your doctor and allow them to review the data and ask questions with a minimum of fuss. Other apps allow for electronic transfer using what’s known as direct (a form of secure email), or even via fax directly to the front office.

      Which PHR do you use?

      I’ve been a serious PHR user for about four years and have evolved in my preferences from a free program from Microsoft called “HealthVault” to a paid application called “CareSync.”

      Untitled
        The CareSync PHR

        While I found the Microsoft program useful, it was cumbersome to enter data—one of the main reasons people don’t use PHRs. CareSync had a more streamlined user experience, the ability to easily lookup the location of my doctor’s offices on apple maps, an integrated care plan that tells me which med to take and when, as well as sharing features that allowed me to easily add my wife as a viewer of my entire medical record. It’s also an evolving platform whereas Microsoft Health Vault has had no new features of note in the past few years.

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        Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 6.43.06 AM
          Microsoft HealthVault

          Final Thoughts

          If you haven’t tried a Personal Health Record now may be the time.  After all, as Joyce Meyer put it so beautifully:

          “I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.”

          As the CIO and CTO at eHealth Technologies, Colin Rhodes is responsible for an innovative organization focused on medical records and imaging in Health Information Exchanges. Colin is also an active published author who contributes to a wide range of periodicals including LifeHack.org, Western New York Physician, Corporate IT Magazine, and Autism Parenting Magazine on a regular basis. In 2015, he was rated number 44 on the top 100 HCIT list for his continuing contributions to social media (http://healthcareit.me) and the BlogSphere as @CTOAndITGuy.

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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          Colin Rhodes

          Chief Technology Officer

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          Last Updated on July 12, 2021

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

          Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

          By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

          Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

          83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

            84 write random letter

              85 use a rubberband

                86 dorm smell bad

                  87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                    89 how to waterproof your shoes

                      90 take a picture of the name card

                        91 iron inside out

                          92 old newspaper

                            93 tumble try shoes

                              keep a card like this

                                SONY DSC

                                  94 soap bar

                                    95 make a hole

                                      96 drop the battery

                                        97 use a coozie

                                          98 when taking a picture

                                            use a clean dust pan

                                              try a pants hanger

                                                use your cellphone light

                                                  use a spring from an old pen

                                                    quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                      user binder clips

                                                        wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                          put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                            clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                              use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                doritos are great for kindling

                                                                  use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                    use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                      freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                        use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                          almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                            sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                              unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                  remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                    turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                      for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                        how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                          tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                            place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                              ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                  take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                    how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                      put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                        How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                          user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                            good sandwich guide

                                                                                                              turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                  the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                    add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                      38

                                                                                                                        hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                          stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                            the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                              how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                  use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                    to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                      user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                        a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                          rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                            use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                              50

                                                                                                                                                51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                  52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                    rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                      kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                        use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                          58

                                                                                                                                                            59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                              60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                  Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                    hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                      use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                        if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                          keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                            If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                              drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                  use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                    do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                      when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                        dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                          put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                            75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                              use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                  78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                      80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                        81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                          82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                            99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                              100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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