It’s no surprise that patient data was a big topic at Stanford #MedX this year, especially since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated implementation of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, sometimes also called Electronic Health Records (EHR), and the deadline for implementation was in September for most healthcare entities.
THE BAD NEWS:
No one that I came into contact with at the conference posed a solution, even with the EMR mandate, for sharing information seamlessly between physicians and with patients, though most everyone agreed: the EMR is not the be-all, end-all solution.
Many states have laws which grant ownership of your personal health data to the doctor or institution. Conversely, many states have no laws at all about who owns your medical records. Check out the map below, and read this blog post for more info: Stanford #MedX #WrapUp 2015 – Three Truths, No Lie
- If you live in a grey state, there are no legal grounds for facilities to keep your medical records from you.
- If you live in a dark blue, green or yellow state; Do not fret. Just because your doctor or institution owns your data, doesn’t mean that YOU DON’T ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN A COPY OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS.
- If you live in New Hampshire, count your blessings, and call yourself lucky to be among the 1.3 million Americans under a state law that mandates your personal ownership of all medical records, specifically and outright – no questions asked.
THE GOOD NEWS!
I am excited to announce that #TMWF is donating ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY (150) #TMWF Medical USB Bracelets to patients injured by mesh!
**** Woohoo! Yippee! ****
PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM AT THE END OF THIS POST TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE TMWF USB MEDICAL RECORDS BRACELET.
We will be shipping over the next two weeks! *Due to the limited quantity, we will donate on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit one bracelet per household please.
↓ Look how pretty! ↓
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” ~ Plato
How do we, as patients, solve our own problems in the face of an incompetent healthcare system? WE ADAPT AND SOLVE.
Waaaayyyy back when – in 2011
I began carrying my mother’s medical records in 3-ring binders. I quickly learned that interoperability and sharing between doctors was practically non-existent. As the records grew, so did those binders, and the solution quickly became unsustainable, as I lugged huge binders around from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital.
So I adapted.
I began scanning in documents and images, recordings and notes – keeping all records on my computer to access at a moment’s notice if a doctor needed information that had not been shared by another provider on my mom’s care team. Housing the data on my computer was a great back-up plan, but during the standard 15-minute doctor’s visit, I was unable to access and, more importantly, TRANSFER information to the doctor as quickly as was needed.
So, I adapted again – circa 2012.
I began carrying an encrypted USB stick on my keychain including all Mom’s medical data, with the back-up on my computer and paper print-outs in my binder filing system. All that together was a great solution for a while, but the plastic and thin-metal casings on my inexpensive USBs simply did not hold up to the wear and tear of nearly constant usage and travel. The USBs wore out quickly, and I was in constant fear that the data was in danger of becoming corrupted.
So I adapted again – circa 2013.
I decided I needed to literally wear my mother’s medical records somehow. At first I made my own sort-of prototype, bracelet-USB-thingy-ma-bob, and while it worked, my prototype didn’t hold up too well. I began searching for a reliable, wearable USB, which was a challenge, but I found what has been the best answer yet: my sturdy & stylish, stainless steel & leather 8 Gig USB bracelet. I wear it daily, and it has held up for just shy of two years now. I have secured it with encryption software, so in case of loss or theft, the USB is useless to anyone else, and my mother’s personal information is still safe.
Now I wear two bracelets – one for Mom and one with my own data.
If we’ve run out of freebie bracelets before you have the chance to sign-up, you can buy the bracelet that I use from #TMWF’s Yes M.A.M Market. The bracelet from the market is a slightly different design (black, with different double-strand design instead of a wrap-around design) but it is just as stylish, sturdy, and useful!
*A word of advice – Some doctors have received my medical USB with great enthusiasm and gratitude. Other doctors have told me it’s illegal or against policy for me to share information with them via the USB. In all cases when I was told that, it was untrue. If your doctor is resistant to receiving information you provide him/her via the #TMWF Medical USB Bracelet, or in any other form, I suggest trying the following steps to ADAPT and SOLVE.
- Offer suggestions
- “Doctor, if you can’t download the information from my USB to any computer in your office, I’d like to email the information to you. What is your email address?”
- “Is there an assistant with whom I can work to transfer the information from this USB to your office computer(s)?”
- Bring hard-copy, paper print-outs of the most important information on your USB to each appointment. Insist that the paperwork be added to your medical record.
- Upon leaving, ask for a copy of the doctor’s notes that day and/or a copy of any imaging or lab test results. If they say no at first, push the issue a bit. After all, it’s data from YOUR body.
- If you don’t have a scanner at home or work that you can use; take your paperwork, images, and lab results to a FedEx-Kinko’s or similar business that can scan your records and place them on your USB. Of course, using these services will require payment, but you may find a helpful employee or sympathetic manager who is willing to lower the cost.
- Ask for help along each step of the way. Tell the doctor/hospital or business that these scans are necessary for you to keep life-saving medical records up-to-date and/or that you are on a fixed income or Medicaid/Medicare. It never hurts to ask!
ORDER YOUR BRACELET BY COMPLETING THE BELOW FORM
#TMWF/TMW will NEVER share your information with anyone for any reason.