Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel, MD, MPH
Nearly one in eight American adults—12 percent of the population—provides care for an aging parent, according to the Pew Research Center. The study also found that about 7 to 10 million American adults are helping manage care for an aging parent from a long distance. The task of managing the health of an aging parent—and even your own health—is made much simpler with Mayo Clinic Health Manager.
The Mayo Clinic Health Manager is a free online health management tool that makes medical information storage easy and simple. Using its website, you can organize and store all relevant facts about the medical conditions and general health of your aging parent. In fact, the application allows people to organize information on their personal health and that of other family members as well. The Mayo Clinic Health Manager even provides health recommendations customized to the circumstances of each individual.
The more you update your data, the more specific the recommendations become. All types of information can be entered into the online health manager: copies of health records from physicians and care providers, health insurance plans, government, employers, pharmacies and schools as well as data uploaded from health devices used at home such as digital blood glucose monitors, electronic blood pressure gauges and digital weight scales.
Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel, MD, MPH, the medical director of Mayo Clinic Global Products and Services says the application enables patients to be more actively engaged in their health and to “share information more easily with their doctors and manage their own health better between office visits.” The online health management tool also helps them keep family members as well as caregivers and others they trust fully informed of their health status.
The whole family benefits from medical information storage with the Mayo Clinic Health Manager. It is designed for easy use by parents keeping track of their children’s health and those trying to manage chronic diseases and diverse medications. The tool is especially useful for those looking after the health concerns of aging parents from afar, since the information may be accessed anytime and from anywhere in the United States.
With recent enhancements, the Mayo Clinic Health Manager now provides tools and features that help users manage conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure—common chronic conditions among the elderly. And it also helps adults look after pediatric wellness (including immunization data on their children), adult wellness, pregnancy and asthma.
“We are committed to continually updating health guidance to reflect ever-changing best practices. Our new features help people suffering from hypertension and high cholesterol better manage their health based on the expertise of Mayo Clinic physicians,” says Dr. Tulledge-Scheitel. “The fields of technology and medicine are constantly advancing, and Mayo Clinic Health Manager will continue to evolve so our users will always have the best health information and tools.”
A single user account may be used to store information about the entire family in a single location. The data is stored in Microsoft HealthVault, a secure, free online service. This allows users to access the information even if they change their physicians, clinics, transfer jobs, or switch insurance plans.
Dr. Tulledge-Scheitel offers these tips for taking active control of your aging parent’s health with the Mayo Clinic Health Manager:
- Consider what information you need. If you were asked to provide your aging parent’s health history, what information could you give today? Is the information readily available to you? In case of a health emergency, would you be able to quickly retrieve critical information emergency caregivers need to have?
- Organize your information. For many people, personal information about their health—let alone that of their loved ones—is never available where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Get all of the information organized by using the free online Mayo Clinic Health Manager. You can store and continuously update all health records of your parent, as well as other family members. Your parent can also update health information after every doctor visit.
- Maximize visits to the doctor. Help your parent use the Prepare for an Appointment tool in the Mayo Clinic Health Manager. By being well prepared, he or she will make the most use of the doctor’s limited time. The tool helps put together all available information to be shared and to list up all important questions to be asked.
- Use the information to guide future actions. Use the Mayo Clinic Health Manager to accurately track your parent’s health and keep abreast of all recommendations as well as the latest findings from your parent’s physician. Encourage your parent to post medication schedules prescribed by the doctor, to help you remind him or her when necessary. Use the information to help your parent maintain health between doctor’s visits.