When you have a child with a disability or special health-care needs, you can spend a lot of time filling out forms and doing the paperwork to make sure everyone has accurate records about your child.
You might spend hours on the phone trying to find out your child’s test results or setting up a doctor’s appointment. Your child might get a new diagnosis that all the other doctors need to know about. You might be trying to track your child’s heart rate or blood sugar to figure out how much medicine they need to take, and then bringing that information to share at a doctor’s visit.
All these things take a lot of time, and it’s important to your child’s health that everyone gets them right.
By working with doctors that use health information technology (HIT), you can use online tools, apps, and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to help you manage your child’s health – with less time and effort.
Using an EHR gives your child’s doctor a way to keep track of your child’s patient record and treatment notes electronically and securely. Some doctors can give you access to parts of your child's EHR through patient websites. EHRs and patient websites allow you and your child’s doctors to work together to coordinate your child’s health care.
Many doctor’s offices and insurance companies are starting to have web or mobile apps so that you can make appointments, get lab results, or look at your child’s health information from your laptop or smartphone.
EHRs let you and all of your child’s doctors see the same health information about your child so that everyone, together, can make more informed decisions about your child’s health. You can electronically update phone numbers, addresses, and health insurance information in one central place.
This list has some things that you and your child’s doctor may be able to do better or more easily with EHRs.
A federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) gives you rights to your child’s health information when they are 17 years and younger. This includes the legal right to get a copy of your child’s health information, make sure it is correct, and know who else has seen it. You have this right with most doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers, such as pharmacies and nursing homes. You also have this right with your health insurance program.
If your child’s doctors use EHRs, you can ask them to give you access to an electronic copy of your child’s medical record or get a visit summary.
More and more doctors are using EHRs every day. If your child is switching doctors, you can ask if the new doctor uses EHRs, has a patient website, or offers mobile health-care apps.
Learn more about these topics by reading HealthIT.gov’s Using Technology to Manage Your Health Care.