Summary: Medical records may not be the most exciting part of plastic surgery, but there’s no denying that information is power. Recently, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons partnered with electronic medical service PatientNOW, and, in theory, the digitization of your medical history will give you some of that power. You’ll be able to do a lot with that information, but there’s no denying that there’s also a bit more to keep track of and a bit more responsibility to bear.

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You and Your Medical Records

Your medical records say a lot about you. They can tell a doctor how often you’ve been ill, what allergies you might have, or how many injections of Botox you’ve received in the last year. All of this information could be vital when planning your next cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery procedure. With this likely in mind, last month, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons announced it would be partnering with electronic medical record provider PatientNOW. Here’s a link to the original press release.

Patient What

If you’re wondering what PatientNOW is, you’re not alone. Heck, if you’re wondering what an electronic medical record provider is, you’re also not alone. Essentially, what PatientNOW and companies like it do is offer plastic surgeons—or doctors and medical practices of any kind—a system in which they can keep all of your medical records. In this new system, your general practice doctor, your ENT, or your plastic surgeon can access your records. This record-keeping synergy leads to better care because the doctors have more information and can make more informed decisions regarding your health.

The Power of Partnership

Now, the ASPS has something like 7000 members, and while those members certainly not required to adopt PatientNOW, there will be some benefits to doing so (especially because they’re already under tremendous pressure to adopt electronic recordkeeping of some kind for all those medical files). For example, PatientNOW will attempt to deliver a kind of find-a-surgeon function for patients, so they can schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon online.

There are also some benefits to you. If your doctor is participating in an electronic records program, that means you won’t have to carry around your physical medical records or make lengthy requests for them. If you’re trying to get plastic surgery in the Twin Cities, but you’re from Detroit, there’s no problem—your doctor should be able to transfer your records easily and electronically.

Nobody’s Perfect

Of course, as with any new system, there are bugs to work out. The important thing to keep in mind is that these records say a lot about you, and so it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure they get where they’re going. When it comes to surgery, your life could literally depend on it.

If you’re curious about what your medical records look like, talk to your doctor or plastic surgeon today to find out.