The little card that could
Date: April 6, 2011
Suburban Hospital’s My Health Record card keeps health care providers informed.
In 2004, at Suburban Hospital, an oncology patient arrived more prepared than most for radiation treatment. She brought a laminated list of every medication she was taking (and there were many). When asked why she did this, the reason was simple: With so many medications and so many doctors’ appointments, she found it difficult to remember everything.
Her simple laminated list turned out to be an easy solution to an often complicated problem. From this prototype, Suburban Hospital’s “My Health Record” card was born.
The wallet-size medical information card is a convenient way for people to carry info about their medical history, their contact information and a record of their medications—prescriptions, over-the-counter, and herbal—as well as vaccinations. Along with listing the signs of stroke and heart attack, the card also contains space to record drug allergies.
In the event of an illness or unexpected trip to the hospital, having this information handy can speed up the intake process and guard against dangerous drug interactions or overdoses. It also helps ensure that Suburban’s staff reconciles patients’ medications on admission, transfer and discharge, a requirement of the Joint Commission.
Funded by the hospital’s Auxiliary, the card is included in the welcome package that every inpatient receives during the admission process. Outpatients and hospital donors also receive the card and thousands more have been distributed at Suburban’s seminars and classes, on the nursing units and at community events. The Washington Post recommended obtaining the medical information card as part of its “Survival Guide” for tourists visiting the D.C. area during Barack Obama’s inauguration.
To request a My Health Record card, call Suburban On-Call at 301-896-3939 or print out a copy at http://www.suburbanhospital.org/PatientsVisitors/documents/MyMedicalInfoCard.pdf