If you have diabetes, or care for a person who does, you know how much you need and use your personal health information. Blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol… they’re all numbers you probably know and track.
Today we have more tools than ever to help you track those numbers—and that’s a great thing! There’s even a government office, the Office of Consumer eHealth, within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that is working with a team to make it easier for you to get your health information online. This puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you better manage your health AND your health care.
Starting this month, you can get a copy of your lab results directly from the lab without having to go wait for your doctor. Some of the bigger labs can also send your test results safely and securely to your smartphone.
The Blue Button Initiative
Before you can get your health information online, your doctor, labs and even insurance companies need to be using a digital system and some even use the Blue Button logo. But not everyone uses the Blue Button to tell you they can give you your health information online, and that can be confusing. Many pharmacies, hospitals, health insurance companies and labs already let you to get your health information online. The Blue Button Connector is a website that helps you find out which companies have online health records and how to get them.
The records you get from doctors, labs and more can be saved in an online tool like Microsoft HealthVault. HealthVault is a free online tool that makes it easy to see and store your data online. You can also share it securely with your family or your doctor. The American Diabetes Association’s free HealthVault tool, Diabetes 24/7, lets you keep of all of your health information in one place.
You may be worried about having your health information available online. That’s understandable. Keep in mind that your health care providers are legally required to keep your information private and secure. But they can’t protect the copies you keep at home. Here are some tips about keeping your personal information private.
If your health care providers don’t yet offer online records, ask them to. And you can ask for hard copies of your records from any provider at any time. Here are some tips for how to get the records you need.
Not sure which numbers you should be tracking? Here’s a quick and easy list!
For more information about how technology is changing the way we manage our health, visit HealthIT.gov.