Art of Aging: Keeping track of your health

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There are new ways to keep track of your health between doctor visits. (WPVI)

There are new ways to keep track of your health between doctor visits.

The days of having a single doctor are gone, especially older Americans.

Just ask Brenda Woods-Tisdale who says, "I have a cardiologist, Dr. Saidi - my primary care doctor, and like most women, I have a GYN specialist."

She's also got a rheumatologist, a dermatologist, and a dentist.

With type 2 diabetes, and a family history of heart failure, keeping track of Brenda's health can get very complicated.

Dr. Firas Saidi of Lankenau Main Line Health acts as team leader in what's called 'Coordinated Care.'

The goal is to look for gaps, contradictions, or other glitches in Brenda's care.

Dr. Saidi says, "Every little bit of errors, or mistakes, or misinterpretation of instructions can make a huge difference. They can quickly go down in terms of their health with something that's fairly simple."

It's especially important when patients are hospitalized, as Brenda was during a visit to family in North Carolina.

She said, "I ended up in intensive care."

When patients like Brenda are released, Dr. Saidi's office gets an electronic message to pick up the baton.

"A coordinator would call her or her family, to first make sure that everything is OK, and then that they don't have any questions, and then to confirm the appointment," said Dr. Saidi.

Dr. Saidi says home health care agencies and physical therapists should also be brought into the loop, since those caregivers see patients more often - sometimes daily."

When there's good control, even patients with numerous conditions can stay at home, not in the hospital.

Brenda appreciates the effort.

"When I leave here, I feel better," she said.

Dr. Saidi says patients still have to be active partners - keeping hard copies of their medical history, medications, allergies, and doctors' names.

Electronic health records make coordinating care easier, but they're not perfect yet.

For more stories and information about seniors, visit the Art of Aging section.

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