Thanksgiving: a time for family, a time for health and an IT tool that can help

RADM Boris D. Lushniak | November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is a great time to learn more about our family’s health. That’s why I designated Thanksgiving as “Family Health History Day.”  The more you understand about your family health history, the more you and your health care provider can predict your risk for health problems and identify screening and treatment options that are best for you. And we have an electronic tool that can help you both.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to spend time logging onto an easy to use Internet-based tool for assembling your family health history. The tool, called My Family Health Portrait, allows families to assemble a valuable portrait of their health risks. A health portrait can help you and your health care provider better manage your health.

This family health history remains completely private and is not saved on a government computer or website because you can save your history to a local storage area, such as your computer’s hard drive or an external thumb drive. You can also create an account and save the data using Microsoft HealthVault — an “EHR- and PHR-ready” cloud platform. HealthVault’s compatibility with some electronic health records and personal health records makes it easy to send an entire family health history to a participating health care provider and incorporate it into a patient’s HealthVault electronic health record account.

So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I hope you and your family will take a few minutes to create a family health portrait.  Learning your family’s health history is a great way to invest in the future of your health and your family’s health.

For more information about the tool and how it can be used on Thanksgiving and beyond, please visit: