Hospitals, Doctors Inviting Patients to Open Online Accounts to Review Health Records, Manage their Care

Getting access to your own medical records has been sometimes problematic in the past.  In fact, the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct in the Department of Health takes complaints from patients denied access to their records.  There are specific rules regarding the governing of the records in terms of how long they need to be kept and, also what information such as physician notes, etc which don’t have to be included.  For more information, click this link

Now, with all the transformations in health care and the effort to require electronic medical records, hospitals and medical groups have begun inviting patients to establish online accounts through a patient “portal” that allows the user to establish a username and password and then set up an account.  The patient can access their list of appointments, medications prescribed and test results.  They can even enter their own notes on their health care.  Albany Medical Center has set up a patient portal at   Parents can also track the health care of their children up to a certain age.  Make sure to check the rules that different facilities have on this and how a health care proxy can access their records.  A separate application form is used for that.  Usually, the provider with send an email invitation to a patient who requests access and then they are sent a link to register.

This website is really being set up as not just a news source but a network for advocates, so please leave comments about whether your doctors or hospitals are setting up similar patient portals and identify any issues or concerns.

Here is some other news this morning….

An assisted living facility with 60 units being built by a church in Baltimore was destroyed by fire in rioting last night.

If you like the New York Times, but can’t read it every day, you might want to make a point of getting the Tuesday paper which has the special Science section.  Every week there are stories regarding health care and often on aging issues. Today there is a story from the The New Old Age column by Paula Span on how nursing homes are trying not to disorient residents by sending them overnight to hospitals if their special needs can be handled in the nursing home or they can be sent to an outpatient faciity.

And, there is an interview with Henry Rayhons, the  husband  and former Iowa state legislator acquitted last week of charges he had sexually abused his wife who had Alzheimers.  The nursing home said they determined his wife was not capable of consenting to sex.  This story got national attention and raises a lot of ethical issues.   Regardless of all the details and circumstances, you have to wonder how the health care facility let this situation get to the point of putting the man on trial.  Perhaps they tried to resolve it in other ways, but it should have been.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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