A few years ago, my brother had a severe heart attack. While attempting to catch my breath, the doctor asked me a really simple question – “is he on any medications?”.
Simple as it may be, I did not know. And from that, I stumbled upon the existing void left by healthcare providers for consumers to access their medical records.
While my personal experience was my eye-opening experience, COVID-19 has been that of millions of people across the world. We are a global and mobile society that has been effectively shut down and asked to figure out how best to protect travelers, raise confidence, and reboot our world after travel was brought to a screeching halt.
We here at FootprintID believe that educating the world on the importance of Personal Portable Health Records (PPHR) is among the core tenets of safe travel, both in times of pandemic and times of calm.
Empowering travelers to have independent, easy, and timely access to their medical records and the ability to share this with healthcare providers, family members or anyone involved in their care needs to be one critical component of our duty of care programs.
The Pillars Of A Complete PPHR:
Personal Information: Blood Type, Identifying Marks, Prosthetics and any other personally identifying information should be recorded.
Emergency Contacts: Make sure you include your emergency contacts, relationship to you, and how to contact them.
Physicians- Who normally treats you? Include all of their information so they can be contacted to answer additional questions.
Insurance: A reputable travel insurance company will have 24×7 hotlines to help you, including medical translation services, referrals, and transport. You and your care team need to know who and how to contact them.
Prescriptions: Include all of your medications, prescriptions and over the counter, dosages and any side effects.
Allergies: Whether food, drugs or other materials, if you are can’t communicate for yourself a written record of allergies can save your life.
Conditions: Do you have high blood pressure? Hemophilia? Make sure your records say so. Your chronic conditions will control your treatment plan.
Immunizations: Are you up to date on your vaccines? Have written proof so your care provider will know.
Family History: Did anyone in your family have cancer? What about Parkinson’s? Your family history will let your care provider know potential conditions to investigate.
Surgeries and Treatments: Include all of your major surgeries and the dates you had them. Recovering from a recent procedure could impact the kind of diagnosis and treatment you receive. Knowing whether or not you had issues with anesthesia can save your life.
Documents: Perhaps your care provider is considering testing you for a certain disease. You can save time, money and discomfort by letting them know lab results or any tests you have had.
As a responsible party for millions of travelers per year, it is critical that you educate travelers and ensure they are well prepared for potential acute health emergencies, natural disasters, accidents / injuries, prescription refills, and more. In situations like these, it is of paramount importance that your traveler is able to communicate their medications & dosages, immunizations & dates, prior test results, family history, allergies, surgeries, and treatments.
In crisis mode it is virtually impossible to remember everything!
How does having access to your records help? It is widely proven that the more information a medical provider has about an individual the more effectively they can treat and diagnose a patient, potentially save a life, and simultaneously save time and money.
The costs to an organization of communication and/or providing tools are substantially lower than the cost of duplicate medical tests, extended illness due to lack of accurate on hand information, and at worst, of a life.
Considering this, what would I consider the top 3 Takeaways For The Traveler?
1. Your Personal Portable Health Record (PPHR) should always be on your packing list- whether it’s a local day trip or longer international travel
2. The information should be kept in a way that makes it shareable easily and instantly.
3. Having. your information will create better health outcomes, save time and money and potentially your life
And the top 3 Takeaways For A Travel Provider?
1. One of the most beneficial, simplest and inexpensive things you can do for your travelers is to educate them/provide them with tools that allow them to travel with a Personal Portable Health Record (PPHR)
2. A PPHR offering can help affordably differentiate your organization and enhance your duty of care program
3. The PPHR helps a client differentiate themselves, retain employees and members, and create confidence amongst their travelers by enhancing their duty of care benefits which helps to create a workforce or membership that feels cared for.