Family Health Guy

In which Sean talks about HealthVault and other cool ideas in Personal Health

Know your meds --- automatically!

Know your meds --- automatically!

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OK, now that everyone has set up their emergency profile in HealthVault …

You HAVE set up your profile, right? If not --- go do that now. It takes five minutes and you and your family will be safer for it. You’ll enjoy telling your friends how responsible you are. Really. Do it now. Here’s the link again. I’ll wait.

… one of the most useful and important parts of that profile is a list of current medications. Beyond its obvious role in emergency situations, having an up-to-date list is just really convenient. As I often say, filling out that clipboard at the doctor’s office is quite a bit easier when you don’t have to remember how to spell hydroxychloroquine. And there are some pretty neat tools that’ll help remind you when to take those meds too.

But keeping lists up to date is a pain, especially for folks with complicated regimens. Well, get ready for your first experience with HealthVault awesomeness --- if you fill your prescriptions at Walgreens or CVS, you can keep your profile up to date automatically. Totally cool.

Connect to your pharmacy

To set this up, you’ll have to create an account at your pharmacy and “link” it to HealthVault. You should have a prescription bottle in hand to get started; the pharmacy will use it to help authenticate you into their systems. Just click one (or both!) of the links below to start the process:

It may take overnight before they push your meds into your record. Once they’re there, be sure to print out new emergency cards for your wallet, backpack and glove compartment. Then download one of our mobileapps to your phone, or just bookmark the mobile web site.

And when you’re ready, take a look at other tools that work with HealthVault, too. Mediguard will help analyze your list for potentially dangerous interactions, and MyMedSchedule does a great job of sending reminders by email or text message. Those are just a few; more and more are coming online all the time and available in our application directory.

More ways to get your meds!

So what if you don’t use one of those pharmacies? One great option is to ask your doctor for a copy of your medical record in electronic form. If they use an electronic system in their office, there’s a good chance they can give you a “CCD” or “CCR” file of your record. These files are easy to upload info HealthVault: just log into your account, choose “Health Information” on the left side, and then “Upload a file” under the “More actions” dropdown.

If your doc is really in the stone age and doesn’t even have that --- you might want to contact the good folks at Zweena. They’ll make requests for your paper records and turn them magically into HealthVault data.

(As an aside --- if your provider says they can’t or won’t give you a copy because of “HIPAA”, they’re wrong. HIPAA specifically gives you the right to access your health information for use in services like HealthVault. This letter from the Office of Civil Rights can be helpful in “unconfusing” folks!)

One last thing. More and more, prescriptions are sent electronically, but sometimes you just have to have a paper copy … especially when travelling. I often scan and upload them to my HealthVault account as image files (I have my passport, drivers license and insurance cards too). Eventually the world will be all-digital, but until then a little crossover is useful!

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