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Health Records: Round 'Em Up, Store 'Em Online

June 11, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - About two-thirds of Oregon doctors are using electronic medical records - and now, their patients over age 50 can use them, too. This month, AARP has launched an online tool to allow its members to organize health and medical information in a single location. On AARP Health Record, a person can list their doctors and emergency contacts, medications, allergies, insurance policy numbers and more - in English or Spanish.

Nicole Duritz, vice president for Health and Family with AARP, says being able to access these details online could come in handy when traveling - and also for family members.

"My mother-in-law and father-in-law are in Minnesota and my parents are in California. They can set up their own Health Records, and they can decide what they want to allow me to have access to. So if there is a medical emergency, and I had been given permission in advance, then I would be able to say, 'I know all the medications my parents are on.'"

For this project, Duritz says, AARP partnered with Microsoft Health Vault. It is an online platform used since 2007 by doctors, pharmacies and even some fitness organizations. Its compatible applications can track many different facets of a person's health.

"Some folks have Web-enabled blood pressure monitors or glucose monitors they use for diabetes. Some scales, some pedometers can link in. So you can be putting in lots of stuff - it's not just your pure medical information, it can also be your health and fitness."

Duritz says it could also be helpful when communicating with health care providers, who increasingly keep records online. She adds the chief concerns of AARP members have been privacy and security, and says AARP cannot access, sell or use the information in any individual health record.

More information about AARP Health Record is available at www.aarp.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR