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PHRs Lend Peace of Mind While Abroad
Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Joan Malling

Neil and I have lived and traveled internationally for years. Until recently, neither of us had any significant health issue that we felt mandated carrying more than our few prescriptions plus contact information for our doctors. We have, however, always made a point of carrying at least two weeks more supply of any prescription medications we might need, in case we were delayed along the way.

Then, two years ago Neil had an unexpected heart attack just three weeks prior to a planned summer in France. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to France that year. Since then we’ve learned the benefit of carrying a personal health record.

With the assistance of Neil’s doctor’s office, we put together a packet that includes copies of important medical records, such as lab results, ultrasound reports, copies of EKG’s, and details of major medical procedures. At home, this bright blue packet resides next to our kitchen telephone, ready at hand should it be needed, and we always take it with us when we travel away from our home city.

We’ve carried it to the emergency rooms (ER) of a hospital in our home town and to a hospital in a town we were visiting 300 miles from where we live. As a result, the doctors have been able to review Neil’s cardiac history as soon as we arrived rather than waiting for his records to arrive electronically.

We were able to return to France last year and are getting ready to head that way again this spring. Before we leave, I will check to make sure that the most current records are in the packet. When going to France, I also include a French translation (reviewed by a French speaking doctor) of Neil’s most significant medical procedure.

We both feel more comfortable carrying this personal health record. Hopefully we’ll never have to use it again.

About Joan Malling
I fell in love with France on my first trip to Europe over thirty-five years ago- and I still have the same travel partner, Neil, my husband. For four years early in our marriage, we followed his work, living in El Salvador and Holland. Then, for many years, travel meant an annual vacation. We’ve always tried to do more travel with less: less cost, less luggage, etc. Travel writing was strictly a part-time avocation for me, secondary to a career as a university administrator. For the last eight years, Neil and I have enjoyed spending summers in France on our 30 year old, Dutch motor-cruiser, experiencing the country from the canals and rivers. The rest of the year, we usually are in Portland, Oregon. And now I’m also able to spend a lot more time writing about the life I love.

Read more about Joan’s travels at Europe Up Close.

Tags   emergency, medication, medicalrecord, travelers

About This Blog

Welcome to the Traveler’s PHR blog – a communication forum and social network to connect you with health information management professionals and other travelers for the exchange of ideas and information for managing your personal health information to prepare for the best healthcare while traveling. If you ever wondered what might happen if you get sick or even became unconscious while traveling outside of your home town and what you might do to prepare for such an event, then you’re in the right place. As this blog grows, we invite you to share your own advice and travel stories and learn from other travelers about their experiences.

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


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