In an emergency situation knowing your health information could mean the difference between life and death. Dr. Thaddeus Bell explains what information you should have on hand.
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Rebecca Fox: It could be a simple as your phone number or address, but everyday you give out personal information about yourself. Healthcare professional say knowing your health information is just as important and could mean the difference between life and death. Family Practice Physician Dr. Thaddeus Bell joins us now to explain why. Dr. Bell, thanks so much for being here. Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Thank you very much for asking me Rebecca. Rebecca Fox: Now Dr. Bell, if I take medicines I'm aware about—I know the name of the medicine I’m taking but that’s about it. What health information should I know and have it on hand at all times? Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Well, I think that if you are a older person and have a tendency to forget and you have a lot of chronic medical problems and you're taking a lot of medications, I think it would be a good idea to have a copy of the medications that you are taking in your wallet. I think it would be a good idea to also include in there the chronic medical problems that you have. But we are so technological now that a lot of these things can be stored in your cell phone, they can be on your iPod but I think that it’s certainly would be to your advantage to have that kind of information. Because if you go out of town and you need to know or you have forgotten a medication or the medication runs out you’re going to be in a lot better place if you can tell the doctor when you call back that your own certain drug, a certain milligram and how you take it and then that doctor is going to be able to facilitate you getting that drug a lot easier. So I think that it’s very, very important to have that information stored somewhere. I also think it’s important that you store in your telephone under in case of emergency the ICE who you would like to have called or what hospital you would like to be taken to. We are finding that one of the things that will happen when people in emergency situation, the emergency techinicans they will go to your phone and they will punch in, In Case of Emergency – ICE and they will be able to see who you would like to have called. Then that person can give information about your medical health very, very quickly which may save your life. So that’s ICE – In Case of Emergency. Rebecca Fox: That’s good advice. Now, we've heard a lot about online personal health records. What advice do you give to your patients in terms of seminar? Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Well, most doctors have not gone to online personal medical records. That is still a vehicle that a lot of problems have to be end out. I know that I'm not—I don’t have electronic medical records, not as yet because all of the details of it have not been worked out. But stay tune because they will be within the very, very near future and in fact is happening so quickly that a lot of the insurance companies are making it mandatory that doctors go into this new field of medicine. So that’s going to happen but it hasn’t happened yet. Here again, I recommend that if particularly have an elderly parent you want to already have down somewhere what the medical history is because most of these patients when they come in they can’t remember all of the things that have happened to them. They can’t remember if they are allergic or not. Information like that can be very, very important. By the same token Rebecca I see a lot of young people who can’t remember those kind of information. So I think that you know you should the time to write that information down, put it somewhere where you can get your hand on it. And as patients are required to switch from doctor A to doctor B because of the health insurance companies have changed as a result of them changing jobs, it will make it a lot easier and will make that transition a lot safer if they’ll have that information. Rebecca Fox: How detailed does it need to get, do we need to write down vitamins or allergies or family history? Dr. Thaddeus Bell: Excellent question. I think that there are a lo
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