Do you know the history of your family’s health? If you are an adult, it’s likely that you don’t know much about your parents’ or grandparents’ medical histories beyond what they told you or perhaps what you could find in their old family documents.
However, understanding your family’s medical history can be vital to living a long and healthy life. Some hereditary diseases can lie dormant in the family until they express themselves in one member at any age.
It’s not uncommon for patients to come in for a visit and mention that they are worried about their family’s health. In some cases, this could be because the patient is experiencing symptoms that can potentially be hereditary.
But, it’s not always as clear-cut. Often, family members may have lived with a health condition that went unnoticed by other members of the family or was never talked about because of stigma or fear.
The good news is that getting an accurate account of someone’s medical history will give you insights into how to treat them and their risks for future health conditions. This is where the health history app would be one with integrations with more than one electronic medical record system so you can easily pull up records without having to create separate data entry points every time.
Before jumping off to the health history app, we need to understand what is the purpose of obtaining a health history and its importance.
Purpose of obtaining a health history
In order for the patient’s health care team and the patient to jointly develop a plan that will promote health, solve acute health issues, and decrease chronic health concerns, a health history is intended to collect subjective data from the patient and the patient’s family and then use it to educate them about their health.
Do we need a professional to help us with this? Yes, without a doubt.
The understanding that can be gained by going through the process with a medical professional can help in shaping the kind of information doctors need to provide care best. By comparing family health histories, future generations are able to identify risks they may have inherited.
The health history is normally collected upon hospital admission, but it may also be completed at any time when gathering more individualized data from the patient might benefit their care. Now, even with the use of a health history app, one can collect data in a much easy and more effective manner.
The information gathered while obtaining a patient’s family health history may be subjective or objective. Subjective data is collected by asking the patient or their family members questions about illnesses that they have or could have had.
This type of data can be accurate when it includes illnesses such as diabetes and epilepsy but can be inaccurate for other conditions if the individual does not know about it.
Objective data is gathered using medical records, genetic testing, and blood tests. This type of data is considered reliable for all types of conditions but may be expensive to obtain.
Blood tests and DNA analysis are examples of how this data can be obtained. Doctors will order these types of tests based on what they find in the initial interview with the patient.
Objective data gathered from these test results help determine a diagnosis because it takes away personal opinions on what should happen next based on their opinion instead of providing tangible evidence that physicians need to make decisions.
Why is it important to know my family health history?
We begin to take precautions for a problem that we know might occur in the future, such as saving money or investing, just as we would for a problem that we know will happen in the future, such as being broke.
Similarly, we can start using preventative measures and healthy behaviors to treat or enhance it if we understand our family’s health history and learn about the underlying history that runs in our family.
The importance of understanding patients’ family health history cannot be understated. It’s important for medical professionals to understand how an individual might react or develop during their lifetime because knowledge of other illnesses, medical problems, and hereditary diseases could help prevent unnecessary health issues.
Some conditions have known genetic links; not knowing about a possible link could put other family members at risk for future complications. We also use family health history to make educated guesses about the best course of treatment for an individual patient.
However, in many cases, there are no previous records or little information available on the patient’s family members to work with.
Knowing your family’s medical history can help you to make better decisions about your health care. This knowledge is not only important for those of us who may have inherited genetic mutations that predispose us to disease, but it’s also important for the doctors who are trying to understand our individual risk.
Studies show that patients who know their family’s medical history make better choices and reduce their risk of illness by up to 75%.
For patients with an illness that runs in their family, medical professionals may also advise routine examinations or testing. Additionally, many people reduce their risk of acquiring heart disease and other common illnesses by changing their lifestyles, such as eating healthier, exercising frequently, and giving up smoking.
Furthermore, an individual’s age influences their chance of getting certain cancers and other illnesses. Knowing the specific genes associated with different cancers allows for those risks to be estimated better and possibly reduced in future generations.
Having a better understanding of the patient’s family history is important because it could help with the prevention or treatment of certain diseases. It’s difficult to create a complete picture of their medical records if there are no previous records or little information available on the patient’s family members. What makes this task even more difficult is when families refuse to disclose information.
Fortunately, there is a Health history app which is the best medical records app that makes recording and sharing this information easier. Doctors can now store all your health information in one location by inputting data from your doctor visits, hospital stays, and lab results into an electronic database.
This best medical records app also offers detailed reports, so you know exactly what steps you need to take for yourself and your family.
Judah Coody is the Marketing Director at Health Wealth Safe. He is a marketing graduate from Louisiana Tech University. Judah is experienced in project management and marketing analytics tools.