Stokes County, NC-- With the state under a statewide measles outbreak, WFMY News 2 wants to know how you can track down your medical records to make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
WFMY News 2 Liz Crawford took matters into her own hands by trying to track down her own records Wednesday.
Her doctor in North Carolina didn't have any of her medical records. It took several phone calls, even a call to her pediatrician in New Jersey, before finding anything. Another route was Liz's alma mater, La Salle University. They couldn't easily get her records because they were in storage. The school only saves medical records for seven years. Turns out, Liz's pediatrician had faxed records to her former doctor in Pennsylvania. That doctor was able to fax over immunization records.
News 2 asked Dr. Howell, a family doctor with Novant Health in Greensboro, what people should do to get their records. Dr. Howell admits it could require a lot of digging to find your records.
"Tracking down a physician you may have had thirty years ago, that was your pediatrician that may have retired definitely makes it a little bit more difficult," said Dr. Howell.
Dr. Howell with Novant Health suggests calling your current doctor first to see what they have on file. You should consider calling previous doctors too. It's a good idea to get hard copies of the records and keep them yourself.
If you can't track down any records at all, there is a specific blood test called a titer test that can determine your immunizations.
Dr. Howell said, "You have to know specifically what you're looking for so you can't just say test me for everything! So, you have to pick particular vaccines."
The experts told News 2 that if you don't know your vaccination status, getting a vaccine booster shot even if you don't need it won't hurt in most cases. You should still check with your doctor first though.
Dr. Howell told News 2 that many practices are in the process of transitioning to electronic records. That will make it easier for physicians to access your records as you go from one doctor to another. It will also make your own records available online anytime.
"Hopefully as the years go by, all the different types of electronic medical records will be able to talk to each other and that way if you're sitting here in North Carolina, and you're coming from California, your physician would be able to access those records."
To learn more about immunizations you need click here: Immunization Schedules
WFMY News 2