The digital world is changing the rules of the caregiving game. Healthcare organizations, financial institutions, educational organizations and professional service providers have invested billions of dollars in data automation. They now expect clients, patients, and caregivers to engage with them in an electronic format whether it be for appointment setting, providing documentation, or seeking updates through a member portal.
Unprepared for the digital revolution, most people still have a lifetime of paper records stored in boxes or filing cabinets. When faced with a need to access a critical piece of information, they find that it is either filed away for safekeeping or seemingly held hostage by privacy regulations and interoperability challenges that make it difficult to access and coordinate personal information with their providers. In the day and age where information is power, we are all at risk of becoming analog refugees in a digital data world.
Having the right information, in the right place, and at the right time will save you time, money, and frustration. In an emergency situation, access to your medical history and current prescription information could even save your life. But, most people will admit that if they got an emergency phone call from a loved one, they probably wouldn’t have the information they would need to lend a helping hand.
There are three key reasons most people say for having not yet gathered together all of the information and documents they need:
- The project feels overwhelming.
- They don’t have a method to easily record and update all the information they need.
- The conversations this might lead to with family members will likely be uncomfortable.
As a result, this important task is all too often delayed until there is a crisis and the need for the information is urgent. And, the family conversations required to gather this information are usually avoided and become complicated by strong emotions in times of crisis.
Luckily, this rapid pace of digital change means there are a host of new tools available to assist you with personal information management and other important caregiving responsibilities. Emerging digital applications and innovations can introduce new solutions to age-old caregiving challenges.
- Personal information management tools like My Data Diary can simplify the challenge of personal information management. Like never before, information can be easily captured, stored, and shared with family members and caregivers – whether they are across the street or around the world.
- Transportation challenges can be solved with the use of new services like Uber and Lyft.
- Shopping burdens can be eased with grocery pickup and delivery services, prescription delivery, and next day delivery options from services like Amazon Prime.
- Mobile and telemedicine offerings can bring the doctor to you in the comfort of your home.
- Accessibility challenges can be overcome with e-Readers and personal listening devices.
Rather than bristle at the rapid pace of change and the challenges change invites, try to consider how these changes can benefit you and your family. Explore the digital tools that are available in this new world and start building a personal digital tool kit to simplify your caregiving responsibilities. The rules of the caregiving game may be changing, but you and your family can be the big winners of the game!
Written by: Darra Wray
Darra Wray is a Care Consultant and Certified Senior Advisor with My Care Companions in Boise, Idaho, a company she founded to streamline and simplify the administrative side of care. You can learn more about My Care Companions and the My Data Diary+ family information management software tool she developed at www.mycarecompanions.com.