The American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting holiday travel this year will post its highest numbers since 2007. With all those bodies on the move, germs and sickness are bound to appear in record numbers as well.
Falling ill over the holidays is unfortunate. Doing so far from home can be disastrous. While you can’t protect yourself from every germ or even a medical crisis, you can minimize complications and hassles by making sure your personal health record is up-to-date with your latest medical information including new medications, conditions, treatments and immunizations. As a provider, reminding your patients of the valuable patient portal and engagement tools you offer them, like InstantPHR, you can help them manage an emergent health issue or chronic illness anytime, anywhere.
This holiday season, give the gift of empowerment. Make sure your patients are aware of the valuable tools you have available so that they can feel comforted knowing they can access each family members’ health information no matter where they may be. Did you know that 39.9% of patients don’t know if their physician offers a portal?1 Take advantage of the season of giving to inform patients of your patient portal offering and get them to sign up through holiday email blasts and cards, festive social media posts, your website and waiting room displays. The simple act of attaching a candy cane to printed handouts, showing patients how to sign up or view information, can grab the patient’s attention and make them read that piece of paper you hand them at discharge. For more ideas and strategies on how to increase patient portal sign ups and usage watch a recording of our latest webinar.
And why is it important that patients have access to their medical records while they travel?
An urgent care facility or emergency room will be able to treat patients more quickly and effectively with data about medications, previous conditions and medical history. Guessing when completing forms regarding dosages, dates and diagnoses can bring about dire consequences such as harmful drug interactions.
Prescription medications can be particularly problematic while on the road. Because they are used daily—often right up until the time of departure—medications are often forgotten at home. Or even more frustrating, prescriptions are stolen from bags.
Both scenarios can be vexing without doctor, pharmacy and drug specifics on hand. All of these details and more can be readily available online. Saving time and in many cases, staving off serious complications.
InstantPHR even has a notes section where insurance information can be chronicled as well; just in case the member’s card didn’t make it on the packing list.
Health data can travel across the country or across the world with an effective tool like InstantPHR. Get Real Board member Dr. Farzad Mostashari experienced this first-hand last Thanksgiving. Here is an excerpt recounting the episode from Kaiser Health News, June 2013.
“It’s one of those unhappy holiday surprises — a visiting family member gets sick. That happened to Dr. Farzad Mostashari last Thanksgiving.
“My dad comes downstairs and he has acute pain in his eye where he had cataract surgery. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, what’s the story?’” recalled Mostashari, former coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services. “And he said, ‘Well, I think they put the wrong lens in my eye, I’d gone back to the doctor and…’” His father didn’t remember exactly what had happened at his last doctor’s appointment and the office was closed anyway.
How could a local doctor in Maryland access his dad’s medical record in Boston? Through Medicare Blue Button, a computer program that allows patients to download their medical history into a simple text file on their smartphones and personal computers. Then third-party applications that you download help organize this information.
So when Mostashari took his father to a local doctor, his dad was able to hand over his iPhone and say, “Here’s my history.”
Mostashari’s account is an example of why patient portal and engagement platforms, like InstantPHR, are so beneficial when away from home. And, that convenience extends to monitoring conditions via compatible health devices like glucometers, scales and blood pressure machines and even keeping track of family members from afar with features like alerts to notify you when their vitals or target health values are out of range. You can comfortably travel out of town knowing that you can still check in on your loved ones at home by monitoring their blood sugar or weight information remotely.
This holiday season, as travelers hit the roads, make sure they carry peace of mind through InstantPHR.
1 Technology Advice. 2014 Patient Portal Survey