Resolutions, Reorganizations & Medical Records

January 1, 2008 Kyron 2 Comments

Ah it’s that time of year again, the first of January, and we’re all now supposed to make some New Year’s Resolutions. Today you are seeing my New Year’s Resolution in action. My resolution was to stop wondering where I could find the resource I wanted. I chose to take the time I was spending looking for it and turn that energy into creating it.

I’m feeling pretty good about this resolution – like it’s a resolution that actually stands a chance – unlike the lose weight, work out, organize my garage resolutions that always get pushed by the wayside to go to a doctor, email a teacher, research a new treatment, drug reaction, deal with a manic episode, fit an orthotic, oh…or cook dinner. So what if sometimes that dinner is a frozen pizza icon wink Resolutions, Reorganizations & Medical Records

My other resolution actually started a couple of months early – it’s organization – or reorganization. Paper is taking over my life. Whether it’s newspaper clippings, IEP records, or medical records I found something that at least on the medical front has changed my ability to organize and advocate for Katherine medically better than any other previous attempts….and there have been several. It’s this little website called Medefile. (note: I am NOT an owner or investor, just a client) As with anything there are pros and cons to this set up. I’ll try to tell you a bit about the service enumerating what I see as the pros and cons of the scenario. Medefile offers two levels of membership and the one I’m going to talk about today is their Premium one.

medefile Resolutions, Reorganizations & Medical RecordsMedefile is like having an online medical safe deposit box. It is a secure online system which stores medical records for you and/or your family members digitally online. Upon becoming a member they have you complete the first part of the collection process. They refer to this as your Digital Health Profile.

Digital Health Profile

As a member you fill out a pretty extensive medical history (they refer to this as your Digital Health Profile) – family & personal medical history, doctors, medications, hospitalizations, allergies, conditions and on and on. In addition to what you would consider traditional medical files they will also store a digitized copy of Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives, DNR Orders, and so forth. Medefile takes information you provide and forms you download, get notarized, and mail to them and then uses all of this to make medical requests of the doctors and hospitals you work with. All of the information they get back is then digitized and put online in a reasonably easy format.

Information Accessibility

All of this information that they have gathered and digitized on your behalf is is now available to you AND doctors and hospitals you choose to give access to in the following ways.

  1. Online – all of these files can be accessed at the Medefile website.
  2. Fax – the information can be faxed to the medical professional of your choice either by you calling in or by selecting the files you want faxed in your online profile and clicking a few buttons.
  3. Mobile Phone – this includes any internet enabled phone/smart phone/PDA/iPhone. Medefile has a special mobile section to enable this.
  4. USB drive – (sometimes also called a thumb or flash drive) Medefile provides this USB drive they call a MedeDrive which is also password protected. Plugged into a PC, this flash drive contains all the files available online after you download them. You must update this periodically as you update your files online.
  5. 800 number – Medefile provides you a membership card which hospitals and other medical personnel can use to access critical information in an emergency. It still requires user authentication to access more detailed files.

Emergency Notification

Medefile also offers an Emergency Call Service which notifies a person or persons that you have pre-selected if you become ill or injured in an accident (after Medefile is contacted by emergency personnel). List as many or as few as you’d like. We have 4 people listed figuring if you can’t reach one of it’s probably armageddon. (some might say we’re a little too reachable! ) While this probably an oversimplification of all that Medefile offers, you can get the idea. There are other tools available on the website including “Lifestyle Tools” (track blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels on a daily, weekly or monthly basis which then graphs the results out for you) They also offer an interactive healthcare calendar which will keep track of doctor appointments or even medication schedules and prescription reminders. The calendar will generate email reminders.

Is this overkill? For some of you it might be. Here’s how I see it. I have this child who literally has a combination of 12 (soon to be 13) doctors and specialists of varying types (not including hospitals (5) and orthotic makers). Because of the complexity of her issues we have traveled most of the US eastern seaboard seeking care for her over the years. In addition there was a point in time where Katherine travelled to see her father once a month which meant she was in a state over 900 miles away from where all her treating doctors were.

No matter how hard I tried I never had the information one doctor wanted from another and it was either a weekend or golf day (yup, sarcasm) and we could not get the information out of the other doctor. Sometimes this was no big deal but many times it was urgent. Much of what I was keeping in one form or another in terms of medical records for Katherine now is online, just a click away. My hope is I’ll never be unable to provide a treating physician important information in treating my child. I believe that having this in place (and it did take effort as well as some money to get it all set up) means I am in a much better place in terms of advocating medically for my child. For me these are the pros and they outweighed the cons which I saw as follows.

Money

I’ll be flat out honest, it’s not necessarily the cheapest way to do this. The premium membership described above costs $129 for a child under the age of 18 ($199 for an adult and $179 for a senior citizen, over age 65) with a one time set up fee of $35. In addition to this they pass on any records collections fees that they are charged. So far this has racked me up another $42 in charges and not all the records are in yet – plus they update records as often as you request they do so this will be an ongoing cost.

Some offices charge for records. You can make some decisions in terms of the records you request within the system which can lower your outlay and you can also do what I did which was talk with some of the doctors we see most often and ask them to waive the fee their office charged. Hospitals were not willing to waive the fees, most of the doctors waived the fees without much, if any hesitation. While I might be able to accomplish this with the purchase of a scanner and hours and hours of making medical records request and then scanning those records into my computer myself, the reality for me was this wasn’t ever going to actually happen, even if I put the money out for a scanner, so I’d still be in paper hell. I have downloaded everything Medefile has collected and have a copy on my hard drive.

Security

While I feel secure and comfortable with the network protocol, authentication system and other site security and access controls they have in place I get that I’m more than a tad on the geek side of life. I know many people are completely freaked out by security online and of course the constant stories of identity theft, online hacks that release our information to any number of evil predators I feel like Medefile has taken all precautions and I believe they really consider security is one of their top concerns. All that being said I’m the first to recognize it’s a comfort level thing.

Obviously I came down on the side of utilizing Medefile’s services. So far I honestly feel like I’ve gotten the better end of the deal. Digitizing records the volume of which Katherine produces annually is worth $129 easily for me. While I’m not sure it’s an application Medefile had in mind (at least not from reviewing the testimonials page) and I found out about the service in my dad’s AARP magazine, it certainly seems ideally suited to those of us who have to juggle information between numerous medical professionals.

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Categories : Medical, Services

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Deana says:

    what a resource! I bookmarked it and we’re going to look into getting it. We are moving to the UK, and it would be great to have all of my son’s info in one place!

  2. Kyron says:

    Deana,

    I totally understand what you’re saying!! That’s quite a move and having easy quick access to all of your son’s medical records – that you don’t have to run all over like a crazy person to collect personally could be of great help to you. I wish you luck with the move and hope it all goes well!

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