Why Can’t I See My Medical Files?

Categories: Blog,Caregivers,Families,Seniors,Uncategorized

Our complex healthcare system is moving in directions that continue to confuse us and make us wonder “What the heck is going on?”.  Many are realizing that tracking their own medical information for their family is smart.  Of course,  I’m not suggesting to “do your own surgeries” or “diagnose yourself with an illness” – I’m simply talking about being prepared with your medical information so you can help your healthcare professionals help you.   Having a Personal Health Record (PHR) is key to getting the right care fast.

Remember that episode on Seinfeld, where Elaine wanted to see her medical records file and the doctor wouldn’t let her?  Then she tried stealing it and failed.  Then she tried to have Kramer steal it and he failed.  Funny stuff, but there is a bit of truth to it.  There are laws in place that the doctors have to follow – simple as that and understandably so.  But since I’m the actual patient – “Why can’t I see MY information?  That is about ME?  I am entitled to it!”

I received a post from a smart lady who replied “Too bad we just can’t download all the files that the government and insurance companies all have on us already.”  That is true -but we can’t – and chances are we never will be able to.  That is why having a personal health record of your own allows you to keep track of your critical medical information – up to date information.  Why shouldn’t you have your health information?  Why should the government, doctor offices and insurance companies have it and you don’t?

Have you ever received the wrong clothes at your dry cleaning?  Have you ever went to pick up your dog from the salon and they bring out the wrong dog?  Have you ever said “Hi” to someone that you thought was someone else?  Have you ever dialed the wrong telephone number?  Have you ever put on two different pairs of shoes?  Have you ever gone to the wrong car in a parking lot thinking it was yours?  All pretty harmless stuff that makes for funny dinner conversation, but when it comes to your health it’s a very different story, and it’s not so funny anymore.  Have you ever been in a doctor’s office and they have the wrong chart on you because you have a common name?   Did you know that if you’re admitted to the hospital and you have a common name chances are you’re given a plastic bracelet informing the medical staff to make sure they have the right “Mary Smith” (for example).  Our medical professionals do all they can to keep information straight – but they don’t know “you”.   Doctor’s and nurses are individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping people – saving lives of complete strangers without a second thought – every day.  They are hero’s in the eyes of the family who almost lost a loved one.   Many times we are in front of medical professionals asking them to help make us “feel better”.  Doesn’t it make sense to provide them with all your medical information so they can make an informed decision on “how” to make you “feel better”?  Think about it – the doctor you saw 3 months ago prescribed a certain medication – a medication that was different then what your other doctor prescribed a year ago – or 3 years ago – you’ve moved, you have a different pharmacy, you changed doctors, you’re now seeing a specialist……….I’m confused just typing it, let alone remembering everything and keeping it straight!  We have to be our own advocates.

There are medical errors every day.  Not on purpose.  Not maliciously.  Just honest mistakes.  We’ve all made “mistakes”, but when a healthcare professional makes a mistake – the outcome could be disastrous.   When you don’t have your health information organized and when you can’t answer routine medical questions – you force your doctor to “guess” or to waste valuable, lifesaving time trying to “figure out” what medications you’re taking or what the problem is.  You have the  power to possibly save your own life by having your lifesaving health information at your fingertips.

When you provide your doctor with your health information, you’re providing him/her the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions regarding your care.

MIMI Medical is your easy answer to building your Personal Health Record (PHR) for your family.

Be prepared for an emergency

Author: Julie Slayton