Editor's note: This article was sponsored by Seattle Children's Hospital.
Not long ago, patients rarely got a peek at their personal health records, thick files tucked away in medical offices’ weighty file cabinets. Today, patients can access personal health information in minutes, thanks to online “patient portals” offered by a growing number of hospitals and clinics.
But what if you see a few different doctors or specialists at different clinics or hospitals? What if you need to track health records for a family, manage multiple chronic conditions, or receive care from natural or holistic providers outside of a hospital system?
While patient portals are common, tools to track health records across multiple hospitals, devices and family members aren’t. That’s changing, though.
Here are six tools that can track and store electronic health records for you and your family members without logging into dozens of patient portals or crowding your phone with apps. Peace of mind with less paperwork — sign me up, STAT.
For family immunization records: MyIR, free
While I’m grateful for vaccines that keep my kids healthy, scrambling to produce official copies of immunization records for school, sports or camp is an annual hassle. Now, a new immunization record access tool called MyIR (my immunization record) gives caretakers access to an entire family’s official, consolidated immunization records at any time, on any device. Records are collected across several states (currently Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Washington and West Virginia) and can be printed to submit to your child’s school, daycare or sports team. “No more calling your doctor’s office and asking them to fax your records over. Waiting for snail-mail to deliver a copy is a thing of the past. For procrastinators with school paperwork, this is for you!” says Seattle Mama Doc Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., of Seattle Children’s Hospital.
For personal health records: Apple Health Records, free
Apple launched Health Records with the iOS 11.3 update last year, giving iPhone and iPad users the ability to track health records across multiple hospital systems. Health Records uses healthcare-industry tech to communicate securely with the health system or clinic’s records through a direct, encrypted connection. In order to use Health Records, your hospital or clinic has to participate. Washington hospital systems currently onboard include Confluence Health, CHI Franciscan Health, Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, MedStar Health, PeaceHealth and Providence Health & Services (check the frequently updated list of participating hospitals and clinics here).
For family health records or multiple chronic conditions: CapzulePHR, free
Need to track records for multiple health conditions or a houseful of people? With the capacity to store records for up to six family members, CapzulePHR allows users to share health data between devices, communicate with healthcare providers, keep track of appointments and medications, and create QR codes for emergency first responders. Spreadsheet devotees can import files from other devices to create charts and graphs, which can also be shared with healthcare providers. Cloud backups, including Google Drive and Dropbox integration, add a layer of reassurance.
For new or expectant moms: Mahmee, subscription-based
Between regular prenatal visits, specialist appointments and support from labor and birth pros, health records pile up during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Millions of new moms have health records scattered across multiple providers, putting them at risk of dangerous healthcare gaps during a vulnerable life stage, says Melissa Hanna, CEO and co-founder of Mahmee. “We give you a dashboard that links mom and baby's health records, so health data isn’t fragmented. This makes it easier to track your entire care experience.” Users also have access to a private messaging hotline and online support groups led by experts.
For families with health data from lots of sources: Coral Health Records, free
Families who move frequently may have a trail of medical records spanning the country. Coral Health Records allows users to compile health data from nearly 600 health systems in the United States and combines electronic health records from patient portals such as MyQuest, MyChart, healow, FollowMyHealth, and HealtheLife. HIPPA-compliant technology allows users to store data securely and share records with healthcare providers as needed. And parents and guardians can easily track health records, prescriptions, immunization records and allergy information for the children in their care.
For those caring for a spouse, aging parent and children: My Medical, $4.99
Tracking health records for large families or multiple generations takes a robust database, calendar capabilities and lots of built-in reminders. My Medical allows caregivers to track health records for multiple generations of family members, store immunization records and compile complex health data for children with special health needs. The app lets users store notes and snapshots to help keep everything straight — so if you need to snap a photo of your child’s medication label, take notes at an appointment, or save the contact information for your dad’s cardiologist in one spot, you’re covered.