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Personal Health Records – Role of Internet in Health Care

Diseases…. We do not want them per se, even though it is common sense that when there is a body, it will be affected by ailments. But, what is the role of awareness in dealing with ailments? Well, it is human tendency to place our best efforts only when we are pushed to the wall hard.

What if there are plenty of options to chose from to gain knowledge? In today’s Internet age, is there an excuse to remain ignorant on badly needed facts and beneficial practices? How well are we using the power of information in our benefits, especially in the context of health?

If researchers of the Department of Medical Informatics State University of New York, Brooklyn are to be believed, the answer can be a disappointing one. Their study is published in the November 2010 issue of the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics. The study found that chronic disease management and hospital visits can come down drastically if people utilize the advancements in technology like the Internet.

The practice of maintaining personal health records can be a good initiative in this context. The medical history of a patient can be accessible to any health care professional instantly with the presence of this record in the virtual world. Contents of this record are:

  • Identification Sheet: It is a registration form containing the contact and insurance details of the patient.
  • Problem List: Details of all the ailments and operations undergone.
  • Medication Record: List of all the prescribed medicines and allergic conditions if any.
  • Medical History: Family history, present medications, health habits and findings of the doctor on examination.
  • Progress Notes: Details of the treatment plans and notes made by the doctor on observations.
  • Consultation: Opinions of the doctors about health conditions.
  • Physician’s Orders: Directions given by the previous doctors to other medical professionals on drugs, diagnostic tests, diet and treatment.

Documentation of conditions suffered and drugs used can be crucial in effective treatment of not only chronic diseases but also for the general health of the public. Communication between the doctor and patient can be more clear when these records are referred.

People living in the rural areas of the United States can be benefited more by maintaining the personal health records. Developing a habit of Internet usage to treat minor ailments and growing awareness on healthy living can pay dividands in the long run.

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