Caregivers as Healthcare Advocates: Uses of the PHR
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | Margo Corbett
Chances are you’ve gradually fallen into the role of caregiver for a
loved one as their health deteriorates. You probably didn’t realize it
was happening at first, but little-by-little you found yourself doing
more and more and at some point said to yourself, “I’m not trained for
this. I feel overwhelmed and inadequate.”
You also realized you were filling a variety of roles - one of them
as healthcare advocate. Remembering your own medical details is
difficult, but doing so for another person is even more challenging.
A good personal health record (PHR) is a key tool to make advocating
easier and o enable you to better assist your loved one. The PHR needs
to be a living document, capturing the right information in the right
way and organized so the information can be accessed in seconds for
doctor questions and emergencies.
Ongoing medical information needs to be captured for ease of use once
the PHR is set up with as much medical history as possible. The next
important step is to learn how to use the information to help the person
do the following:
-Prepare for appointments
-Coordinate their care if they have more than one clinician
-Tell their story in a way that truly helps the clinician help them
-Help clinicians expand their thinking to consider possible diagnoses
& treatment options rather than settle on the first that comes to
mind, which studies say happens 85% of the time
-Know enough to make good joint decisions with the clinician and help the person you care for follow through
It is learning to use the information to tell the story, provide more
information and ask questions during interactions that enables better
care and prevents errors.
Margo Corbett is the author of The Savvy Patient’s Toolkit. Visit her website at http://www.savvypatienttoolkit.com.
personalhealthrecord, phr, medicalhistory, caregivers
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