Julie’s Note: Through our ongoing Guest Blogger Series (GBS), Martin and I are excited to share the talent and knowledge of our fellow writers and bloggers as they offer experiences, stories, lessons, and observations about a variety of topics. Enjoy our latest GBS entry.
By Elsie Hasting
[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]R[/dropcap]ecently, we celebrated Father’s Day. I don’t know about you, but gift-giving for my own Dad — who has celebrated 40+ Father’s Days — is murder. Figuratively speaking, of course. No matter how creative I am, or how well I think I know my father, it simply doesn’t get any easier to give him something that’s meaningful.
Yet, there is a gift I’ve given him that actually helps his health and can potentially save his life.
And it’s a gift you can give your father at any time, too.
It’s called EHR, or electronic health records.
Today, electronic health records — a health information technology tool — is a gift that keeps on giving. EHRs link your family health lineage, creating a family health history which could be a game-changer or lifesaver.
Think back to your last medical visit. Remember being asked about your family health history in each and every paper form you filled out in all of those waiting rooms?
For some, answering questions about family health history can be very painful, assuming you even know your dad, or on the other hand, don’t want to remember how you lost yours so young. For example, my own mom died of cancer at the age of 57.
For others, these health and family history questions can be alarming and an eye-opener to what you don’t know. If you don’t have this information, where do you go to find it? Who do you ask? And how do you learn about your family medical conditions if they’re not captured somewhere other than a medical record?
If your dad is alive, like mine, you don’t have to wait for next year’s Father’s Day to have this conversation. You can do it today.
Begin with a meaningful conversation by explaining that their health matters today and tomorrow for the generations to come. It can begin by accompanying your father to his next doctor’s appointment to learn about his current health condition – time consuming, yet possible for those who are geographically close.
Another way to honor and show the significance of your parent’s health is by leveraging health information technology. Does your dad’s doctor – or your own doctor – use an EHR? How about an online portal? You may be pleasantly surprised — more than 500K health professionals have registered to participate in the EHR incentive program.
Today, technology – health information technology – allows you to capture, consolidate, and contain the vital and timely facts essential to help your doctors coordinate and better manage your care – or your father’s care, and help prepare or prevent medical conditions of the past.
For more information about EHRs, you can visit the following sites to learn more.
In addition to being a daughter, wife, and mother in the Washington DC area, Elsie Hasting is also a certified health information technology specialist who uses her medical interpretation skills (English/Spanish) to creatively bridge cultures and communication gaps in healthcare settings.