In many families the mother serves as the Family Health CEO, managing healthcare for her parents, kids, spouse, and herself. It’s Mom who schedules the doctor’s appointments, hunts down the immunization records for school, sorts out the bills, and reminds you to take your pills. What a difficult slog! In a world where we can video chat for free, book our travel and pay our bills online, and even go to college without leaving the living room, simple things like getting a list of current medications are almost impossible. As Family Health CEO, poor Mom fills out the same information on clipboards at multiple doctors’ offices, gets stuck in infuriating phone trees, and bombarded by incomprehensible paper bills and reports on the family’s health, while she never even sees some of the most important information such as lab test results.
Just think how much easier Mom’s job would be if she—and you—could securely access and share critical health information whenever and wherever it’s needed from a phone or computer. Most Americans haven’t ever accessed their health records online, either because they don’t know they have a legal right to do so, don’t know where to start, don’t realize why it’s important, or because the records themselves are still trapped in old school manila folders.
The US government has been investing billions of dollars to help doctors and hospitals transition from paper to electronic records. As healthcare is going digital, it’s important for decision makers at hospitals, pharmacies, health plans and government agencies to know that regular people want secure electronic access to our own health information, and that we want it now.
With electronic access to your health records, it’s much easier to:
- Check that your medical information is right, and request corrections or updates/additions if needed
- Make sure all the doctors who treat you have the facts they need to provide the best quality care
- Spend your healthcare dollars more wisely
- Improve your health through small changes to daily routines
- Make your life (and Mom’s) less stressful!
Having secure online access to your own and (with permission) your loved ones’ critical health information isn’t just about convenience, it’s also potentially life saving, especially in an emergency. So this Mother’s Day, take a minute to sign the petition for electronic access to health information for everybody and their mother—including yours!
What Health IT means for Women, from the National Partnership for Women & Families
About the Blue Button Initiative, from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
Lygeia Riccardi is a principal at Clear Voice Consulting and a former Director of Office of Consumer e-Health at ONC, HHS. Peter Levin is CEO of Amida Technology Solutions and the former CTO of the VA.