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Seniors blog

Parents in healthcare's driver seat
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 | Robert Caban

In less than a decade, technology has made information widely accessible--Information that in years past only a privileged and select few had access to. This has opened the doors to nearly everyone in America to make informed decisions about their health care. With the Internet, blogs, social networking as well as smart phones at our disposal, we can immediately receive a diagnosis from our doctor, consult friends and family, and even search the Internet for information. It has gotten to the point where I have had a number of doctors tell me, “Now don’t go looking on the Internet for answers” and I think that they are in some ways very justified in saying this to their patients.

It is entirely possible to become overwhelmed by the details of conditions that you may or may not have. And reading about them on the Internet can simply overwhelm many people. I remember taking a pathology class in college to study different diseases and I’ll tell you that I must have had a new diagnosis every week! Of course I was perfectly fine, but I probably had all my friends and family worried that I was losing my mind. And that’s what happens to many people using the internet for their medical information. You just need to put it all in perspective.

Getting a second medical opinion is always an option, but that second opinion should be a licensed doctor, not a search engine. That said, adding Personal Health Information (PHI) to your paper or electronic PHR is a very intelligent, savvy approach to managing your health and medical decisions. The internet is a great resource, as a starting point, in your quest for medical knowledge and can be very useful in discussing your medical treatments and medications with your doctor. I use it as a means to gather information so that I can formulate intelligent, or what I think are intelligent, questions for my doctor and my children’s doctors. And not surprisingly, most of the time they know when I’ve been consulting the Internet. So as rule of thumb, get as much information as you think you need to ask the tough questions so you can always be informed.

Tags   personalhealthrecord, phr, technology, access, parents, healthinformation, phi

About This Blog

Parents, welcome to the PHR blog where you can connect and communicate with health information management professionals and eventually other parents about managing your child’s healthcare. Have you ever been on your way to the doctor’s office with your child and wondered about the details – diagnosis, medications prescribed, vaccinations, etc. – of your last visit?

As a parent, you have so many responsibilities that it’s difficult to recall everything from day to day let alone last year. A personal health record can help ease your mind. This blog is a social network where you can interact with experts in the field to seek advice and tips for best practices in creating and maintaining your child’s personal health record and the best ways to use that information to play a more active role in their healthcare and simplify your life.

Blog Contributors

Marsha Dolan, Valerie Watzlaf, Cindy Boester, Heidi Shaffer, Julie Wolter, Margaret Hennings, Colleen Goethals, Vera Rulon, Leah Grebner, Robert Caban, Mynilma Olivera-Vazquez, Amanda Bushey, Margie Kelly, Donna DuLong, Sarah Dietze, Valisha McFarlane, Maria Kovell, Ted Eytan, Leann Reynolds, Laura Heuer, Kristin Stewart, Derek Allen, Chris Matthies, Margo Corbett, Craig Newmark, Sarah Buelterman, Skyler Tanner, Aniruddha Malpani, Joan Malling, Marilyn McFarlane, Megan Rooney, Patrick Rhone, Dr. Carrie Nelson, Maria Bouselli, Erin Jordan


PHRs do more than manage medication. Stay up to date with information that can help you communicate with your doctor and stay out of the hospital.

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