Science & Medicine

MPN Life (Feb.)

KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR MEDICAL DATA

by Jeremy Smith

Normally my columns are focused on the subject of exercise and nutrition.

This month I am taking you down a slightly different path by introducing you to an iPhone APP that I have found essential to mobile medical record keeping.

One of the best ways to keep yourself on a disciplined path to better health is by measuring and analyzing your results. This allows you to keep track of your progress and sometimes regression. And as the say on CSI Las Vegas, “ the evidence never lies.”

I approach my numbers with the same diligence as a CFO discussing every nuance of his company’s complex financial data to his board of directors. I must confess to being a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to analyzing my own data. To me our body’s data or the results we receive from the measurement of it ground me. I can talk all day about how I might feel. But is how I feel at a particular moment a true reflection of the reality of what is happening inside my body? I know when I was first diagnosed I constantly ran in and out of midnight hospital emergency rooms thinking my PV had over taken me and I was at the end of my life. But when the lab report came back the evidence contradicted my “feelings.”

A few quick rushes to the emergency rooms and panicked calls to your Doctors and they look at you and treat you differently. Today I focus on my data and what is going on inside my body and less on how I feel at the moment.  My data has become my foundation for measuring my quality of life. And as I have learned over the past decades by doing this and testing it what I am either putting in to my body or an exercise program I am introducing I have data I can use to talk with my Doctors. What a difference it makes in talking with your Doctors when you can move the discussion away from how I feel and to measureable data, that Doctors seems to have more confidence in than actual feelings. I was treated differently as I transitioned from panic patient to “informed” patient. All of sudden I as a patient I was I taken seriously. My voice was finally heard.

Today I have everything broken down in to various categories and regularly monitor everything from my WBC, HCT and platelets to bone density, oxygen percentages, heart rate, blood pressure, HDL, LDL and triglycerides. In addition I regular monitor my weight and bone density to make sure I have enough protein and vitamin D to keep my bone density strong. I track all of my records and lab work as far back as I can. I can tell you what my platelets where back on December 15th 2001 and compare it to October 2011.

I also realized I needed a place to store this data. All of my data is stored on my new Mac with a 2GB Internal hard drive. The data is backed up to a Cloud Storage Service Company as well as external drives to make sure my data is secure in the event of a hard drive crash. I even use services like Road ID when I exercise so in the event something happens to me someone will know who I contact and my diagnosis and Doctors are available to medical personal instantly.

MyChart Mobile Application for the iPhone and iPod

In a World driven by technology I have often wondered why hospitals, doctors offices and medical clinics have such a hard time getting me my medical records. Almost everything they do is entered in to a computer and stored away so Doctors can access this information to chart our courses.

For years I have been able to access every single email communication and business document from my company on every digital device I own. From my office computer to my iPhone, MacBook Pro to my iPad all of my documents are synced. Yet I could not access a single medical record from any of my digital devices.

What if you could communicate with your Doctors via email, receive and save all of your lab results and have  just about everything including your upcoming doctor appointments right in palm of your hand with one single application?

EPIC has created a product called MyChart ™ an application for devices such as an Apple iPhone®, iPadtm, or iPod touch® that provide fast, secure access to your medical records, send private messages to a Clinic doctor or care provider, see upcoming appointments, get instant lab results, get maps to clinic locations and much more.

Epic MyChart offers true mobility, instant access and optimized convenience. Users are not required to be in front of a traditional desktop or laptop computer to access the benefits of the MyChart system.

According to Epic their MyChart application has more than 20 features that patients can access medical clinics, doctors and hospitals currently using the system:

•    Securely and confidentially e-mail your doctor and clinic staff to ask for medical advice

and other information

•    Review instructions and summary reports from recent clinic visits

•    Review instructions and lab results from recent hospital visits, including the

emergency room

•    View clinic lab results

•    Request new appointments

•    Review personalized health reminders

•    View appointment information

•    Review your current medications

•    Request prescription renewals

•    Review your health history

•    Review allergies

MyChart accounts can even be set for patient’s children and others for which you provide care. (Authorization required.) And this mobile APP is free; your medical provider pays for the service. Many of the medical providers who are part of this service are listed at www.epic.com or you can view them through the APP itself via iTunes.

For patients who have a mobile device from Apple Computer, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch the mobile application is available from Apple’s iTunes Store. For those of you on the Goggle Android some of the health providers have worked with Epic to allow access from those mobile devices as well.

There are other services as well none of which I have tested: http://www.impact-advisors.com/UserFiles/file/IA%20Whitepaper%20-%20%20eHealth-PHR-%20ala%20Google%20and%20MS%20%2020090510.pdf

Chilmark Research, NYP and HealthVault

http://chilmarkresearch.com/2009/04/06/healthvault-ny-presbyterian-closing-the-loop-on-care/

It always important to check with your current health care provider to see which services they offer.

If you are looking for more information on this subject please read MPN Forum columnist Dr. Michael Goldstein column“ The Empowered Patient.

Take me back to the Contents

© Jeremy Smith and MPNforum.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeremy Smith and MPNforum.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Comments on: "MPN Life (Feb.)" (2)

  1. Mary Cotter said:

    I agree that it is important to have access to the data that informs the medical decisions we make with our health care professionals. I have access to the MyChart app and find it quite useful to track the data from that one medical facility. Another health care provider I used in the past used the SeeMyChart website. No app for mobile devices, but web based and patient friendly. The problem with each of these medical data management sites is the data is limited to that which the medical provider chooses to include. The providers don’t coordinate data into one central portal. I cannot enter data I may have of my own (ie blood pressure, weight, medications). The solution I have found is another app called MyMedical. Here I can coordinate all of the information from multiple providers in one location. I can add my own data. I like the sense of control.

    Mary Cotter

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your response and suggestions.

      I agree there is no perfect solution at this point. I often have to email my Doctors to make sure they push the data out quickly so I can view the results. However at Stanford, I assume its the same elsewhere I can send updates to my Doctors via email who then confirm receipt. I have also started emailing them abstracts in advance of my appointments so they have the proper time to review them.

      I have found that in the case of two of my Doctors they respond to my all of my emails within 24 hours the rest it might take a few days but its stored now. I have also also signed up for a back up service called Carbonite. Which I can back all of my data up to and then use their iPhone Mobile APP to review the data while at appointments.

      Sincerely,

      Jeremy

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