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PHRs Protect Families From the Harshest Realities of Natural Disasters
Date:6/9/2009

"Hurricane Season" an ideal time to guard personal health information against nature's devastation

CHICAGO, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Major catastrophic events can lead to chaos, destruction and death. Now is the time of year when public awareness and preparedness are the best defenses against the high-impact storm systems that will sweep across many parts of the country.

The need to prepare for the possibility of a dangerous tropical storm striking near you is essential. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November. Forecasters predict there is a 70 percent chance of nine to 14 named storms of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) with 111 mph+ winds.

This is a big reason why electronically stored personal health records (PHRs) let even those who have lost almost everything receive the best possible medical treatment in the wake of natural disasters. Comprehensive PHRs that include a complete medical history and an accurate and updated patient profile -- including current prescriptions, allergies, blood-type and physicians' names and contact information -- can be imperative to surviving a recent injury or keeping a previously diagnosed illness properly treated and under control.

"Regardless of what product is used to create a PHR -- paper or electronic files -- the ultimate goal is for emergency responders, healthcare providers and, of course, healthcare consumers, to have immediate access to the health information that's required for sound medical decisions to be made," said Julie Wolter, assistant professor of health information management at St. Louis University and co-chair of the AHIMA PHR Practice Council.

Even without a full set of records, it is important for each person to have, at least, a
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SOURCE American Health Information Management Association
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