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  • Cameron Oglesby

Accessing your own health records will soon be easier than ever

Sometime early this tear, new HHS Privacy Rule changes will have removed some major barriers between you and your own health records.

  • When you ask doctors, hospitals, or other health organizations for your personal health information, they’ll be required to provide it twice as fast – in 15 calendar days instead of 30.

  • You’ll be able to review your records in person, take notes, and make photographs.

  • If hospitals, practices or other providers charge fees for compiling and printing the information, you’ll know in advance how much. They’ll be required to post estimated access fees, copying fees, and itemized bills on their websites.

  • And if you want your doctor, your specialists, your health plan, your physical therapist, and your hospital to share your health information with each other, that sharing will take place sooner. That’s because providers will be permitted to deliver health records electronically, without having to spend time printing it out and physically mailing or delivering it.

These changes will make life more convenient, but that’s not the main point. The main point is that they’ll also make life healthier.

That’s because accessible, shared information is key to coordination, which in turn is the key to better senior healthcare. As I wrote last month, coordinated healthcare can “provide better care, faster – and without unnecessary and redundant procedures. That’s because it focuses on an integrated picture of each patient’s outcomes and overall health – not just on separate office visits, lab tests, and hospitalizations, with separate records kept by separate providers.”

Ever since we first opened our doors, I’ve been a big believer in the importance of information and coordination as keys to better senior care management. That’s why we rely so heavily on both, as opposed to just a menu of one-size-fits-all services.

For information, we conduct a thorough, three-part needs assessment that goes beyond superficial physical health to also look at mental health, functional and social abilities, cognitive health, and even a safety evaluation, to uncover important information that neither our clients nor their families may have known. To keep that information current, we monitor each client’s care weekly. And our monthly registered nurse assessments go way beyond just taking vital signs and are more like mini-needs assessments.

Using that information, we coordinate each client’s individual care plan not only with their health needs, but also with their needs, their schedule, their hobbies, interests, activities, and social lives. We accompany clients to doctor appointments to make sure the doctors know about any health changes and the families know about the doctors’ latest recommendations.

To learn more about the difference this holistic approach can make, please call or contact us.

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