12 posts from July, 2012

What’s in Your Health Record?

Posted July 30th, 2012 by

What's in Your Health Record?  Get the Full Contest Guidelines and Details Here.

If you’re living in an Internet-enabled household, chances are you have all or most of your banking information at your fingertips.  Can you say the same for your health information?  For many, these important records are locked away in filing cabinets or kept at your doctor’s offices.

Despite the fact that patients have a legal right to see and get copies of their medical records, the statistics on access are fairly surprising.

  • 41 percent of the public have never asked their doctor for copies of their records
  • 81 percent say they’ve never asked to receive their records electronically

That’s why the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is sponsoring the “What’s in Your Health Record?” Video Contest.  The goal is to encourage more patients to ask for copies of their health information and look at new ways to view and track it online.  Simply share your story on video (2 minutes or less) – including what you learned from taking a closer look at your records – and you could win one of several cash prizes ranging from $250 to $3,000!  All submissions are due by August 20, 2012.

Did You Know You Have the Legal Right to See and Get Copies of Your Medical Records?

Maybe you’ll find a critical omission in your records, such as a medication allergy.  Maybe you’ll find something curious or unexpected that prompts you to ask questions at your next appointment or do research.  Or maybe you’ll simply confirm that you’re up to speed on your health status.  In any event, having your full health information on hand empowers you and also ensures that your loved ones have all the details they need to help you receive the best care possible.

Ask for your records today and see what you find!  And if you’re a PatientsLikeMe member, don’t forget that you can input and monitor hundreds of different lab results – from cholesterol to Vitamin D to PSA levels – on your profile.


Know Your ABC’s on World Hepatitis Day

Posted July 27th, 2012 by

Did you know that both hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be transmitted through blood-to-blood contact – but hepatitis B is commonly transmitted through unprotected sex as well?  Also, there is a vaccine available for only one of these forms of hepatitis.  Do you know which one it is? (Answer: hepatitis B)

Because these “silent” infections may not cause symptoms for years, hepatitis B and C are the focus of World Hepatitis Day, which takes place tomorrow, July 28th, and is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA). (There is another form of this viral infection called hepatitis A, which is typically transmitted through contaminated food or drinking water.)

World Hepatitis Day 2012

The reasons for greater awareness are stark:  the WHO estimates that two billion people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus and approximately 240 million people are living with chronic liver infections. Approximately 600,000 people will die every year from the consequences of hepatitis B.  In addition, there are around 150 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C worldwide, and more than 350,000 die each year from related liver diseases, according to the WHO.

Despite these alarming figures, hepatitis remains poorly understood, and the majority of those infected are unaware.  Should their infections become chronic, people living with either hepatitis B or C are at risk for serious liver complications, including liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.  In some cases, a liver transplant may be required.

You can learn firsthand about these conditions and their complications from our hepatitis patients at PatientsLikeMe.  As of today, 88 patients report hepatitis B, while 299 patients report hepatitis C.  In addition, 522 patients have undergone a liver transplant to replace a diseased liver.

If you haven’t been tested for hepatitis – or you want to know more about the hepatitis B vaccination – talk to your doctor at your next visit.  If you’re living with chronic hepatitis, we invite you to join our supportive community today.