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Health Issues on Vacation, Call Your Insurer and Have Information with You in a Personal Health Record

Posted Jul 31 2009 6:48pm

This is a good bit of advice from a post in the New York Times about what to think about when you go on vacation as he stated even at Disneyland you might have a fall or in his instance his toe. 

The only one item that I would elaborate on here and think about changing to fit me would be to have all my information in a personal health record in case I end up in an ER outside of home.  Keeping a list in your wallet is good too, but what if you lose you wallet?   A PHR as I have always said is your back up system for your health records and any ER physician appreciates any information they can get their hands on.  Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault are 2 free PHRs that get the job done for you and when you don’t even have to enter the data with labs or most medications as e-prescribing and connecting to retail drug stores can do it for you, a nice set of credible medical records.  The ER doctor will love you for this. 

Here’s a link to over 180 Posts dedicated to both Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault for more information on this blog.  BD

JUST one hour into the start of my recent Disneyland vacation, I tripped on a tree root by the hotel pool and jammed my toe. The pain image was intense. My husband kindly looked up nearby orthopedists on the Internet and suggested I go see one. Instead I called the number on the back of my insurance card (yes, I’m frugal) and was transferred to a nurse who said, based on my symptoms, my toe was probably not broken, and that ice and ibuprofen might be enough.

BRING YOUR INSURANCE I.D. Duh, you might be thinking. But go on — check your wallet now, to prevent a scramble later. (Can’t find it? See if you can print one out from your insurer’s Web site.) And make sure you’re also carrying information about your prescription drug plan and dental policy.

HAVE A LIST OF YOUR MEDS. Ideally, you should bring all your bottles with you, that way if you end up in the E.R. and are unable to speak, a doctor can make sure he’s not giving you a medication that would adversely interact with something you are already taking. But at the very least, bring along a written list of the medications you take and keep it in your wallet.

“Telling an E.R. doctor that you take a little white pill for high blood pressure is not helpful,” says Dr. Jay Morris a former emergency room doctor who is now a vice president for the insurer UnitedHealthcare. “There are hundreds of pills.”

If you end up in the E.R. or even a clinic, try to bring a friend or relative. You may need an advocate to pester the nurses for extra meds or a better bed and to make phone calls should you need the attention of a specialist, Dr. Morris said. Your advocate can also call your insurer to find out if you need preapproval for any procedures.

Patient Money - For Health Problems on Vacation, Call Your Insurer First - NYTimes.com

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