PHRs and Advance Care Planning

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Do you know what April 16th is? It is the day after Uncle Sam collects his money, but more importantly, it is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The formal designation of National Healthcare Decisions Day is the result of a major effort from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and other national, state and community organizations to communicate the importance of advance healthcare planning.

NHPCO is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their advance care wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and complete written advance directives. Advance directives allow you to document your end-of-life wishes in the event that you are terminally ill or critically injured and unable to talk or communicate.

The NHPCO has developed state-specific advance directive forms and information on advance care planning through the Caring Connections program. Additionally, Caring Connections and Google Health™ partnered last year to increase the availability and accessibility of advance care planning information and resources online through the Google Health PHR.

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Portable PHRs

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When Congress passed HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, “portability” referred to the right to transfer your health insurance and health records – not necessarily just carrying them around with you in your pocket. However, thanks to remarkable new Personal Health Record (PHR) technology, that is exactly what is becoming possible. 
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Check Your Records

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An accurate PHR can help reduce the need for redundant diagnostics, allow you to receive faster treatment in an emergency, ensure accurate prescribing of medication, and may even reduce, or eliminate medical errors. In short, a PHR allows you to take a more active role in determining your medical outcomes – but only if they contain accurate information!