How can a PHR help me care for my family?
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Margaret Hennings
How can a PHR help me or my family? Why would I want to take the time to gather all this information?
In the same way a gardener will keep track of where to buy their
favorite flowers or who has the biggest selection or best prices,
A PHR can help you keep track of physician information such as phone
numbers, appointment dates, specialty, etc. It can contain the pharmacy
information such as the phone numbers, prescription number, refill
If the person you are caring for sees many specialists, it can be
really hard to remember who the patient is seeing on what date and
time. The primary care doctor may want to see the patient every 3 to 6
months. The pulmonologist may want to see the patient every 4 months.
The cardiologist may want to follow-up with a patient on a 6 month
If you need to cancel or reschedule one of these appointments, you need to have the right phone number to do so.
The PHR should also include a list of the pharmacies used by the
patient. Ideally it is best to obtain all your medications from the
same pharmacy, since most now have computer systems that cross reference
medications and can alert the pharmacist to potential drug
interactions. Some patients may receive their medications from a
local pharmacy, some may have a plan that requires them to order their
medications via an internet supplier. Many patients who have Medicare
may receive automated shipments from a medical company. These items
would be things like home oxygen, or diabetes testing supplies. It is
important to record the contact information for these services also,
since a lost shipment could make patient care more difficult.
Monitoring medication can be very complex. The cardiologist may have
prescribed digoxin and given the patient a prescription that will allow
refills for 6 months, then require a lab test to check for digoxin
level before renewing the prescription. The PHR can help you keep track
of these details. It should contain a medication list that includes
dosages and times taken, last refilled, when a dosage was changed and
why. It should also have a place to include all allergies and
reactions to prescription medications, over the counter medicines,
vitamins or substances (i.e latex).
Gathering all this information together will give you a good start on
a PHR for your loved one. It may also help you manage their care
better and alleviate some of the stress of caring for someone who is
Next week, we will look at how a PHR can help you organize lab and other test results.
For more information on the various types of PHRs please visit 'Choose a PHR' on myPHR.com.
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