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How Electronic Health Records Give Seniors More Control

Electronic Health Records Give Seniors More Control Managing senior care programs can provide unique challenges to health care professionals, as elder clients are more likely to have a greater number of concerns than their younger counterparts. As the likelihood of developing many illnesses and requiring a variety of medications increases with age, the task of coordinating care also becomes more difficult. Encouraging electronic health records is one technique that may prove useful to geriatric care managers and others working with senior clients.

Using traditional paper records, staying on top of older adults' medical needs can present many problems. Records kept by one doctor may not find their way to another if seniors don't keep track of their health providers, and there is plenty of information that may never make it into the record at all. Seniors using family caregiving could have incomplete records if they don't supplement that care with doctor's visits, while the daily minutiae of elders' health complaints and solutions to minor issues are unlikely to make it into writing at all.

Securing records 
Electronic health records can help solve these problems by centralizing and automating many aspects of record-keeping. Storing information electronically can help keep records more secure and more thorough, according to Senior Housing News. Records stored on modern cloud-based platforms may be more up to the task of complying with HIPAA regulations than those kept in older networks, since new systems offer more security options. For instance, two computers or two wireless access points using the same infrastructure could have different restrictions on who can use them or what data they make available. That makes it harder for any unauthorized person to access the information without putting up barriers between the data and authorized users.

Power in users' hands 
Another major benefit that electronic records can provide is the ability to capture data with limited input from users. With traditional records, it's mostly up to health care providers to ensure that information is entered accurately. Few clients keep precise track of their own health when they're responsible for writing down every medication they take and every change that they go through in nutrition or fitness. Electronic records can put a lot more power into the hands of people receiving care by allowing easy or automatic data capture.

The newest generation of health tracking software could go a step further, not only taking the burden of data collection from doctors, but removing it from people almost entirely. At a recent press conference, Apple announced its new product offerings, one of which came out of a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, the Star Tribune reported. The two organizations collaborated on an application, called Health, that may represent the easiest way yet for people to monitor their own health. Building on existing platforms that can track information such as exercise levels and calorie intake, often based on user input, Health allows for more robust data collection with less effort needed from users. The app could take measurements such as heart rate and body temperature and use changes in these metrics to determine - or even predict - when a user may be in danger of a health emergency or a less urgent change.

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