The health care system strives to promote the best care possible, sharing information between service providers and health care professionals. Despite efforts of all involved, the system does not always work efficiently. While a number of initiatives are being taken to improve the system, there are several outstanding issues – compatibility of systems, access, financial costs, confidentiality and security. By maintaining your own, independent personal health record, the benefits to your health care are immediate, it can be compiled by anyone in any format, and it avoids the implementation time required to deal with these complex issues.
A personal health record provides a central location for your current/past health history. By adding copies of additional documents (test results, specialist letters, etc.), the source of information is more accurate. With up-to-date and detailed information, decisions about your health care are faster, more efficient, and can help avoid errors and unnecessary tests. Information is readily available to those you trust in case of emergency, without access and confidentiality issues. Ease of access is especially important in the care of older adults or for travelling outside the province. Take charge of your own record and see an immediate benefit in your health care!
Cheryl Upright is a Registered Nurse who has a special interest in inspiring people to get involved in their health care. She has a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of British Columbia. In her current work as a research nurse, she constantly sees the value of people knowing the details of their health history.