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Health Records: Round 'Em Up, Store 'Em Online

SEATTLE - Doctors and clinics around the state are adapting to electronic medical records - and now, their patients over age 50 can use them, too.

This month, AARP has launched an online tool to allow its members to organize health and medical information in a single location.

On "AARP Health Record," people can list their doctors and emergency contacts, medications, allergies, insurance policy numbers and more - in English aarp.org/HealthRecord or Spanish aarp.org/mihistorialdesalud.

Nicole Duritz, AARP vice president for health and family, says being able to access these details online could come in handy when traveling - and also for family members.

"My mother and father-in-law are in Minnesota and my parents are in California. They can set up their own health records, and they can decide what they want to allow me to have access to - so if there was a medical emergency, and I had been given permission in advance, then I would be able to say, 'I know all the medications my parents are on.' "

Duritz says it could also be helpful when communicating with health-care providers, who are making it a priority to transition to online record-keeping. She adds that the chief concerns of AARP members have been privacy and security, and says AARP cannot access, sell or use the information in any individual health record.

For this project, Duritz says, AARP partnered with Microsoft Health Vault, an online platform used since 2007 by doctors, pharmacies, and even some fitness organizations. It has compatible applications to track many different facets of a person's health.

"Some folks have Web-enabled blood pressure monitors, or glucose monitors that they use for diabetes. Some scales, some pedometers can link in. So again, you can be putting lots of stuff - it's not just your pure medical information, but it can also be your health and fitness."

See Health Record online at aarp.org/HealthRecord. The Spanish-language site is aarp.org/mihistorialdesalud.

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