Having your whole health history at the ready for an appointment can improve the quality of your care and can lower the price tag by reducing unnecessary tests. Storing all of your medical records digitally makes it easier to arm yourself and your doctor with the information to make better treatment and care decisions, without the time and expense of requesting printed copies of all your records from each of your previous doctors. Two of the top ways that using a digital health history can get you better care are: bringing down your costs for care and increasing your chances for great health outcomes.
BRINGING DOWN COSTS
CNN recently covered the results of a 2018 survey, saying that Americans borrowed a staggering $88 billion in the past year to pay for health care. And 65 million adults say they had a health issue but didn’t seek treatment because the costs were prohibitive. A digital record of your health history can help reduce your healthcare costs in several ways. It cuts the expense of obtaining paper records, gives you the freedom to shop around, and reduces excessive tests and treatments.
With all the different places you’ve gotten care from over the years, and the cost of getting paper copies of your records add up. In general, the first 20 pages of a paper version of a medical record may cost around a dollar per page, while copies of imaging tests and biopsy slides may cost between $10 to $120 per slide.
Having the freedom to shop around can also help you cut costs when it comes to getting good medical services. Whether you’re getting your flu shots at a nearby pharmacy or getting care from the comfort of your home, maintaining a full digital health record can help you shop around to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of care.
Finally, keeping a digital record of all your medical services can cut down on unnecessary tests and treatments. Your care providers may order repetitive tests when they can’t get their hands on records of your history and previous test results. Some experts estimate that at least $200 billion is wasted annually on excessive testing and treatment.
BETTER TREATMENT OUTCOMES
Excessive testing and treatments can be more than a costly annoyance. Less accurate diagnosis, more repetitive testing, and overly aggressive treatment generate mistakes and injuries believed to be the third leading cause of death in the United States each year. Many of these mistakes were avoidable with access to the right information about patient histories. The more information about your medications, conditions, and test results you can arm yourself and your doctor with, the more likely you are to see better outcomes from medical treatments.
Being able to access all of that information in one place is especially helpful if you are seeing specialists in addition to a primary healthcare provider. Where your specialists are hyper-focused
on one specific area of your total health, a good primary care physician will look at how your health is doing overall. They’ll make an even better resource for guidance and Q&A’s during your appointments when you can show them what they’ve missed during your specialist visits.
There are many additional aspects to quality, cost, and access to healthcare that a variety of digital tools may assist with and help you track. But the foundation to getting better quality care starts with a complete health history, in a single place, that you can use to arm yourself and your doctors.