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How Do I Securely Store My Medical Records?
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How Do I Securely Store My Medical Records?

Patrick Lucas Austin, Gawker Media

Image credit: Carl Court/ Getty

Dear Lifehacker:

Today, my wife took our dogs to the vet to get their nails trimmed. Because it was our first time to that vet, she needed their vaccination records. Luckily, I had photos of those records on my phone from when they were last boarded, so it was incredibly quick and easy to send. This got me thinking-we have a baby on the way, and having copies of essential medical records for me, my wife, and the baby easily available to send in an emergency seems like a great idea. However, I don't trust google photos to securely store this kind of information. What are my options? Ideally I would want something that is:

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1. Encrypted.
2. Cloud or otherwise easily shared and accessed by those I allow.
3. Mobile-enabled so I can access from my phone, which we all almost always have on us.

Any help on options available would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Ian

Dear Ian:

Congratulations to your wife and yourself on your upcoming human offspring! Hopefully you can squeeze in some parental leave . Storing medical information is tricky business, but there are a variety of ways to store the secure data while letting others access it in case of emergencies.

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You can store it locally on your computer or smartphone, sync it to your devices with a cloud storage service, or sign up for a health-specific information management service. Each option has its benefits and downsides, but they'll all help you get at your medical information whenever you need it, and in a secure fashion.

Store it in a Password Manager

Security and privacy are paramount when storing medical information, so store your records where you might store other sensitive information: a password manager.

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Some password managers, like 1Password and LastPass , feature cloud storage options, letting you store images, documents, and other files with the rest of your sensitive online information. Since password managers sync and encrypt your contents across devices, you'll have your medical information wherever you are, and the ability to share it with whomever you'd like.

Store it In The Cloud

Password managers are a safe haven for delicate information, but if you want to share your records more easily, consider a secure cloud storage service. A cloud storage service like SpiderOak uses end-to-end encryption, ensuring your sensitive information is secure at every stage during its transfer. You can create temporary, self-destructing links to share sensitive data with people. You'll have to pay, the cheapest subscription will run you $5 per month (or $59 per year) but will net you 100GB of secure storage on an unlimited amount of devices.

Use a Health Management Service

Storing sensitive data securely on your smartphone through a password manager is well and good, but you might have more luck using a medical information-centric service. Thanks to the proliferation of free personal health record (PHR) services designed to store medical information and make it easier to access, you can store your data with big-name companies without worrying about it getting leaked or stolen.

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A few major companies have cloud services designed to handle medical information. Microsoft has its own HealthVault service, which enables you to gather health data from other apps and devices and import it into your medical record, in addition to your digitized records.

WebMD has its own Personal Health Manager service, which stores medical information and features integration with a variety of other third-party apps and devices as well. Apple is even rumored to be augmenting its Health app to handle medical records, according to CNBC. That means you could eventually have your family's medical history synced on your iPhone through iCloud. You should know, however, that data from your fitness devices isn't protected under HIPAA laws , so you might not have control over what companies do with it.

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