Blog post originally written by the AllStripes community team. AllStripes was acquired by PicnicHealth in 2023.
Picnic Health collects, digitizes, and organizes all your medical records - from all your doctors - in a sortable and complete timeline. You simply provide us with your basic medical information and we take it from there.
Our team works very hard to spare you the normally painful and lengthy process of requesting and keeping track of your medical records. Here’s a look at everything (and everyone) that goes into creating and updating your Picnic Health Timeline.
Requesting your records
We start by using the basic information you give us during the sign-up process to generate requests for your medical records. We will never ask you for any more details than we need - Picnic Health maintains a large database of doctors’ contact information we can use to fill in any gaps and check that we’re sending each record request to the right place.
After we make sure that all the necessary contact information is correct, you sign your authorization forms via email and we send out your record requests. Since most offices and hospitals still use fax machines to process record requests, Troy and Pye have set up an automatic fax system. This saves us, you, and the environment piles of paper and lets us keep an electronic trail of all your requests.
Collecting your records
One to two days after we fax your record request forms, we call your doctors to confirm that all your requests have been received and processed. Doctors’ offices are notoriously busy, so we sometimes have to call every day for 5 - 6 days and endure hold music for hours before we get confirmation that your requests have been received.
Depending on the number of records and the urgency of the request, it can take anywhere from a day to six weeks for your doctor to send us all your records. To make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, Sophie and Karyn closely track the status of every record we need to collect. If we haven’t received your records within a reasonable timeframe (which happens fairly often), we call your doctors to makes sure your records are sent as soon as possible.
Creating your timeline
Medical records rarely come to us via email - even digital imaging studies are usually sent to us on a CD. Sophie carefully manages all incoming faxes and mail - it’s not easy work.
Sophie and Karen scan, digitize, and tag your records before uploading everything to your timeline. The tags we add - e.g. record type and visit date - allow you to easily sort and search your medical history. Pye then pulls out top level information - important doctors’ notes, diagnoses, treatment plans - from each of your records to populate the boxes you see as you scroll through your timeline.
Once we have the majority of your records, we send you an email letting you know that your timeline is ready! You can click on any record, including images, to view it in your browser or click the “Share Timeline” button to easily update your doctors or family about your health.
Updating your timeline
Depending on whether you sign up for a Starter or Pro Picnic Health plan, we reach out to all your doctors and request your new medical records twice a year (Starter) or after each new appointment (Pro). If you ask us to collect your records on an ongoing basis, we track your doctors’ notes for any mentions of follow-ups and also work with you to make sure your timeline stays up-to-date.
Hassle-free Medical Records
In everything we do, our goal is to bring you peace of mind when you need it most.
You will never have to frantically search for or request any of your records at a time when your medical care should be your primary focus. We are available at any time to answer your questions. Here's to hassle-free medical records!
Empower people to own their medical records. Advance medicine. We’re a passionate group of doctors, patients, data nerds, engineers, and builders, who believe in making something real that changes lives today and in the future.
List the names of all the doctors, hospitals, and other facilities your loved one visits regularly, along with those they have visited in the past. Try to go back as far as you can, striving for at least the last 5-10 years, but do your best. Even if you can’t remember them all, having a strong baseline can help you quickly identify gaps in records.
Ensure You Have the Appropriate Legal Status
It is important to make sure that you are fully empowered to make decisions on behalf of your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Your relationship status with the patient may not be enough to legally give you access to your loved one's medical information. It is a good idea to talk to an expert about securing special legal status, such as Power of Attorney (POA), a legal document that allows an individual to name someone as their decision maker should they no longer be able to make decisions on their own.
Gather and Organize the Medical Records in One Place
It’s important to have all of your loved one’s medical records together in one spot. This makes it much easier for you and your loved one’s physicians to accurately map the patient’s medical journey and more easily share information between doctors. Fortunately, tools exist to make record management and access simple. A free resource like PicnicHealth helps you collect and organize all of this information. PicnicHealth’s intuitive timeline allows you to pinpoint data across the medical history, eliminating your need for keeping heavy binders filled with paper records or keeping track of multiple software portal logins.
Review the Medical Records to be an Informed Advocate
The better you understand your loved one's medical history, the better you can advocate on their behalf. Access and understanding of this information will help you to ask informed questions with physicians. Through regular communication backed by the data in the medical records, you can help your loved one’s care team develop a more successful care plan.
Learn more about PicnicHealth’s commitment to the Alzheimer’s community and the Alzheimer’s Association
When you’re juggling appointment times and insurance claims, putting a robust support system together might not strike you as the most urgent task. Investing the time to cultivate relationships with people can turn to in times of need will pay dividends. The next time you need a last-minute ride or just someone to listen, you won’t be on your own. There are many condition-specific support groups and support groups for caregivers generally in person or online. In addition to the encouragement and empathy they provide, support groups can be a helpful source of tips, resources, and recommendations for navigating caregiving.
The backbone of effective caregiving is organization. Keep medical information, appointment schedules, and medication lists in order. Use a planner or a digital service like PicnicHealth to stay on top of your responsibilities. This attention to detail can prevent future complications and reduce day-to-day stress.
Explore treatments and clinical trials.
We’ve seen incredible breakthroughs in treatment over the past couple of years, powered by patients and their caregivers participating in research. Stay in the loop about the latest in medical advancements and available resources that could benefit your loved one. Whether it’s a new therapy option or a community service that aids independence, being informed can make a world of difference in the quality of care you provide.
Make time for self-care.
It may seem self-centered to focus on self-care—but when you feel good, you can be a better caregiver. Whether it’s exercise, a mindfulness practice, a soak in the bath, or just time to rest when you need it, carve out those moments in the day when you can unwind, reset, and stay healthy mentally and physically. Think of it as building up your reserves of kindness, patience, and understanding—which can only benefit your loved one. No one can pour from an empty cup.
Having trouble managing your loved one's medical records?
Easily manage all of your loved one's medical records and contribute to ongoing Alzheimer's research with PicnicHealth.
Tip: Download or print the poster at the end of this article to review before your next appointment!
However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of protein for your individual needs. In general, a diet with moderate protein intake (about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day) is recommended for people with kidney diseases.
Learn more about contributing to IgAN research with PicnicHealth.