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Managing Your Family’s health & wellness

Raising seven children is demanding enough, but when faced with the added responsibility of caring for an elderly parent, that’s more stress than the average woman can handle. But, if you’re a super mom like TV personality and best selling author Joan Lunden, you’re going to find an effective way to do it all and you’re going to help others learn from your challenges.
As one of America’s most visible moms, Lunden has devoted her life and career to being a dedicated parenting advocate and educating parents by sharing her personal experiences.
Now the former host of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” is drawing on her expertise to educate other busy moms on managing the health and wellness of their families, including their aging and ailing parents.
“I’m pretty typical of a lot of woman who are in charge of their homes, kids, and their kids’ healthcare,” says Lunden who is married to businessman Jeff Konigsberg. “I’m also part of the sandwich generation. I have an 89-year-old mom on the opposite coast,” she added. “I’ve always said the secret to balancing work and motherhood is organization. Interestingly, I was incredibly organized except in the area of healthcare.”
Lunden went on to explain how she became overwhelmed when her brother, who handled all of their mother’s medical information, died from type 2 diabetes. Suddenly, she had to scramble to recreate a decade’s worth of medical history including doctors, prescriptions and hospital visits with little help from her mom who was showing early signs of dementia.
Motivated to find a better way, Lunden became involved with PassportMD, founded by Steven M. Hacker, MD, to remove the burden of keeping health records accessible and organized.
PassportMD.com is the easy-to-use, award-winning online provider that helps users create electronic personal health records for family members by collecting medical information, digitizing images and assisting with other health and wellness tools.
“I just looked at it and said this is exactly what I need,” recalls Lunden. “I think it’s what everybody needs. If you shop and bank online, you can do this.”
According to Lunden, what distinguishes this service from a number of others that are emerging out of great need is ConcierCare, which is the first concierge service of its kind. Users have a dedicated concierge collect the medical records of each person on the account including the user’s children and parents. The records are obtained in compliance with the privacy standards of the US Department of Health and Human Services using encrypted channels after users provide a secure electronic signature.
“You log on to PassportMD.com and someone calls you shortly after,” noted Lunden. “You give them a list of all your doctors and they contact them.” As each of Lunden’s doctors were contacted, one by one they called her praising and expressing the need for such a valuable service.
“Medical professionals understand why this is important. They are trying to make the best diagnosis, but they’re not talking to your other five doctors. That’s why they have to duplicate tests,” Lunden explained. “This will cut down on duplicate testing, medical costs, medical errors and make doctors better able to give you a proper diagnosis.”
The Doctor Access program of PassportMD allows users to invite their physicians to share and review each patient’s medical records, including diagnostic-quality images.
Another handy feature of the service, notes Lunden, are the reminders for everything from doctor appointments to prescription refills, even when to schedule screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies based on the patient’s age and family history.
“This allows everyone to have the appropriate tests at the right time,” says Lunden. “Most people are diagnosed in such a late stage they literally don’t have a fighting chance.”
Knowing one’s family history is also critical, says Lunden, and PassportMD maps it out and helps users understand it. “When you put your elderly parents on, you will automatically know your history. When you find out at what age your mother started having high blood pressure, that information can drastically change how you should be treated yourself,” she says. “There’s no way I can express how important this is to a family. It could save your life.”
Lunden also points out parents need no computer literacy at all to be included on your account, which may cover up to six family members. Medical records can be downloaded to a USB device, perfect for traveling or when the patient is unable to articulate verbally. Each password-protected account uses the same online precautions as banks, and is available 24/7 no matter where you are in the world.
“Thanks to the holiday season, all families are getting together and these are opportunities to discuss medical histories and make a commitment to each other,” suggests Lunden. “People don’t want to approach this subject because they think of it in terms of mortality, but they should think of it as a gift to their children.”

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