Survey Reveals People Need Help Organizing, Tracking Health Information

Organizing personal medical information is even more time consuming than managing most health conditions, according to a new national consumer survey commissioned by Mayo Clinic and Microsoft Corp. In addition, consumers cited their own inability to remember information as a barrier to effective health management.

The study, titled "Managing Family Health and Health Information," resulted from an online survey of 1,065 adults that was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on April 1 and 2, 2010.

Nearly one-third of survey respondents said they spend more time "keeping information organized" than they do finding answers to health questions or dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.

The survey also showed that nearly nine out of 10 people (90 percent of women and 84 percent of men) have left their doctor's office without asking an important medical question or telling their physician crucial information affecting their health. Almost half confessed they do this regularly. The result is that patients may go without the answers they need to manage their health, or they may call their physicians with questions later, creating inefficiencies for providers.

Even outside the doctor's office, people have a difficult time remembering vital information about family health histories (28 percent), names and doses of medication (25 percent), and when they are due for a check-up (20 percent).

Mayo Clinic and Microsoft co-developed Mayo Clinic Health Manager, a free online application that helps people organize and keep track of health information for themselves and their families. The privacy- and security-enhanced online application allows people to store their medical information and act on it, with real-time, individualized health guidance and recommendations based on the clinical expertise of Mayo Clinic.

"This survey underscores the need for consumers to become engaged partners in their health management," said Dr. Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel, a primary care physician and medical director of Mayo Clinic Global Products and Services. "Mayo Clinic Health Manager is a tool people can use to track information to better manage their health and their families' health between doctor's visits."

To create accounts and learn more about the Mayo Clinic Health Manager, visit www.mayoclinic.com.

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