Our nation is slowly undertaking an initiative: the transition to electronic medical records. Once EMRs go live nationwide, all hospitals, clinics and medical professionals will have access to your medical information, no matter which doctor you’ve visited in the past. This can be particularly useful during travel, when people tend to get ill at the most inopportune times.
Electric medical records will give medical professionals access to your medical history, including: symptoms, diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions. By having quick access to this information, medical professionals can treat you faster and better, which is very important if you are itching to get back to your vacation.
Until EMRs go national, it’s up to you to keep yourself and your family as healthy as possible on your next vacation. Here’s how:
1. Eat Right
Just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean you should leave your healthy eating habits at home. While there’s no doubt that you’ll eat a fast-food dinner or two on your trip, do try to sit down to a healthy meal more often than not. If you’re traveling across the open road, be sure to pack a cooler full of chopped fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, granola bars and bottled water. Eating small meals frequently will help stave off the hunger pains that have you pulling in to the nearest McDonald’s.
Whether you need to stop at a rest stop to stretch your legs, walk up and down the aisle of the plane or simply walk to the next attraction instead of drive, make sure that you exercise while you’re on vacation. Regular exercise will keep your heart healthy and your metabolism humming. Check out the hotel gym or see if a fitness center in the area offers day passes so that you can keep up with your exercise program while you are away from home.
Before you leave for your destination, contact your insurance agent and find out if you have adequate coverage for your travels. If you are relegated to specific hospitals in your area, you may want to consider taking out a travel insurance policy for your trip. Travel insurance can protect you, and your wallet, should an emergency arise when you are out of your provider’s network.
iTriage is a great app for your Apple device that will allow you to input all of your family’s medical records into one convenient piece of software. Until EMRs are installed in every hospital and doctor’s office, apps such as this one are the next best thing. After you input your family’s medical information, you’ll have access to it whenever you need it. As your family visits the doctor, receives treatment or are given prescriptions, simply update the data that you’ve already entered.
When EMRs are used across the nation, the thought of medical emergencies may not be as daunting. For now, it is up to you to ensure that your family remains as healthy and safe as possible when traveling. By making sure your family is eating healthy and exercising, and by carrying their medical information with you, you are doing everything you can to have a happy, healthy and safe vacation.
Connie Prescott is a conservation writer who works with NRDC and other organizations to protect our health and environment. Currently she is helping spread awareness of several suggested changes to the CMS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking among health care providers to help them know more about the current EMR Meaningful Use Criteria in an attempt to improve the overall healthcare system.