We all have medical records, which are kept in paper or electronic files with our various health care providers. It’s wise to compile these documents into a single personal health record that can be accessed any time—and even shared with caregivers, if we choose.
These records contain things like medical history, family health history, allergies, chronic diseases, health care provider information, test results and emergency contact information. The American Health Information Management Association can help you find a Web- or software-based personal health record format. There are also many iOS and Android apps available, which allow you to access your personal health record from your smartphone or tablet.
In 2011, 17 million consumers used e-health tools and mobile devices to access health information, according to HealthIT.gov. There are several apps available through iTunes and Google Play help us organize our personal medical records. Here are four options that are worth your consideration.
Blue Button is a federal initiative that aims to make it easier for consumers to access their health records online. It began with veterans and Medicare and Medicaid recipients, but it now extends to the general public. The iBlueButton app allows you tosecurely access and exchange electronic health records, including X-ray images and reports, lab results and visit summaries, with health care providers—health care providers have access to the iBlueButton Professional version. There is also a veteran-specific version called iBlueButton Veterans.
You may also use iBlueButton to store health information such as medications, allergies, medical conditions, emergency contact information and more. Blue Button records may be accessed and downloaded from the following portals: MyMedicare.gov, TRICARE online, Aetna and RelayHealth. You can import and export files by e-mail as well as with cloud services such as Dropbox and apps such as Adobe PDF.
Cost: Free download, but additional charges may apply
Devices: Android and iOS
2. Track My Medical Records
The Track My Medical Records app is exactly what it sounds like, a handy, streamlined app allows you to conveniently track your medical records, as well as those of your family members, and access them wherever you go. Data may be accessed offline, but it is backed up and stored on a cloud and transferred via encrypted connection for your security. As with other personal health record apps, you can keep a list of your immunizations, medical conditions, allergies, etc. You may also chart your blood pressure,blood sugar level and other medical conditions you wish to track. Include a picture in the notes to match files with faces.
There is also a website that can be used to access information from your desktop and other non-Android devices: www.freehealthtrack.com.
Device: Android (other devices via website)
4. Capzule PHR
The Capzule PHR app allows you to keep your health and medical records, and those of your entire family, on your device where you can securely store and access them without an Internet connection. Features include pillreminders, glucose and blood pressure tracking, immunization and medicationrecords, physician and insurance lists and more. Include photos with files to help caregivers and emergency personnel confirm they have the correct information for the correct person. A step up from free, it’s more graphically pleasing than other apps in addition to being neatly organized and easy to use.
Back up your records on your computer or a cloud, depending on your preference. Information can also be electronically shared with family members and health care providers when you are connected to the Internet. This app connects with Google Drive, Dropbox, Walgreens and HealthVault.
5. My Medical
Another comprehensive app that allows you to keep records for yourself, family members and others in your care, My Medical can also work with your Mac calendars to remind you about doctor appointments, prescription refills and more. You can also have reminders sent directly from your app.
You may look at the sticker price on My Medical and wonder why you might choose it over something free or low-cost. The answers are in the details of the function, design and information. In addition to listing conditions, procedures and drugs, you can get additional details about what they are, side effects, etc. Medications are listed with photos, dosage information, side effects, frequency and more, which can be helpful for caregivers. You can also include pictures of everyone whose records are kept in the act, which comes in handy should there be an emergency situation. As with the other apps listed above you can track lab and test results using the app’s charting feature, which allows you to use multiple graphs at once. It meets the industry standard Continuity of Care Record format, which makes it easy to transfer records from one system to another. For extra security, data is stored directly to your advice and not on a remote server.
Cost: $19.99 (free trial available)
Please note that The IHC Group does not guarantee pricing, and the apps listed at time of publication are subject to change.