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Dayton Doctor Urges Ohioans to Rethink How They Prepare For Summer Vacation

Ability to access medical records may be more vital than packing sunscreen

DAYTON, Ohio (June 6, 2013) – Just because you’ve been anticipating a special summer vacation all winter long doesn’t mean it will be as picture perfect as you envisioned it.

A trip to the urgent care or emergency department is the last thing anyone plans as part of their vacation, but it is often an unexpected need. Sunburns, insect bites, fractures from recreational play and illnesses picked up from traveling to foreign areas unfortunately make a trip to an unfamiliar health care provider a necessity for a lot of Americans. Southwest Ohioans can ensure that the care they receive from doctors while traveling is more effective by providing them with the most accurate picture of their medical history.

However, packing a medical chart in the suitcase or storing a string of medicine names and doses in one’s memory isn’t always a reality. But thanks to the use of electronic medical records – such as Premier HealthNet’s Epic system – patients can travel this summer with the assurance that their medical history and medicine lists are right alongside them. MyChart – a secure patient website – allows individuals to access their personal medical information wherever there is Internet access or even through the touch of its smart phone app.

“Access to a patient’s medical history can make a significant difference for a doctor who is treating them, especially on an emergency basis,” said Susan Davis-Brown, MD, an internal medicine and pediatric doctor practicing at Brookville Family Care. “That way they know what your normal lab results are and then they have a baseline. Some people have variations from the normal and you can potentially avoid a lot of work up if you know that is the person’s baseline. MyChart also helps by providing the treating doctor with a list of the patient’s medical history and medications.”

Dr. Davis-Brown said it’s important for doctors to know a patient’s medical conditions – including the medicines they are taking and the dosage – because it can determine what medications are given for the problem they are experiencing. The right medication can help avoid adverse drug events (ADE), which cause over 700,000 emergency department visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The bottom line is that you never know what might happen to you,” Dr. Davis-Brown said. “Nine times out of 10 you’re going to be just fine, but there are certain medications that have certain interactions and if you aren’t sure of what you are taking then you might have problems with it. But with MyChart, you can pull it up and the doctor can take a look at it and give you something that will work.”

The American Diabetes Association says one of the top things families can do to prepare for summer travel is to get medical information in order before leaving home. That might seem like an important thing for someone with a chronic illness to add to their to-do list, but Dr. Davis-Brown said everyone should be aware of their medical information and how to access it no matter where they travel.

MyChart is a good option while traveling, but should not be the only means by which patients expect to obtain their medical information since Internet access can be unpredictable. Therefore, Dr. Davis-Brown says it is still important for patients to keep a list of medications with them at all times.

“It’s (health information) kind of like a bank statement,” she said. “You can follow it as closely or loosely as you want, but you really ought to know the information. Knowing what your cholesterol is, knowing what your blood pressure is, it’s just your basic health information.”

Learn more about MyChart.

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