How do I share signed copies of the documents I’ve created with my current Primary Care Provider and, if necessary, with other physicians or hospitals who care for me?
Your originals should remain either in yours or your Proxy’s possession, but should be readily available when needed. At a minimum, you, your Proxy, your Primary Care Physician should all have copies, and your PCP should make your copies part of their EHR/EMR.
Scan the documents to create electronic copies if desired, and consider storing electronic copies somewhere where you, your Proxy, and selected family members can access them quickly on demand so they can quickly be made available to a hospital or emergency care provider.
Possible storage options include the US Living Will Registry, which offers personal accounts that allow you to upload and store your documents in a secure database that your providers can later access once you’ve given them permission. Registration includes an annual update reminder to encourage you to keep your documents current, and a wallet card with your registration # for later reference. There is a fee for a 5 year membership, with discounted extensions.
Alternatively, you could consider mainstream cloud-based storage such as iCloud, Box, DropBox, etc. Consider creating a separate account used only for these documents, but recognize that would mean having a unique UserID and password, which must accessible to you and at least your Proxy when needed. Keep in mind that you are accepting personal responsibility for the security of your documents and the personal information they contain, but also understand that you are not violating HIPAA in any way. Your providers are obligated to use only certified and audited secure storage locations for protected health information, but you can put documents any place you choose as long as you are satisfied that they are secure enough for your personal standards.
Optimally, electronic copies would also be part of your Personal Health Record.
Remember: We coach, support, educate, and empower. We illuminate options you may not have known you had. But we don't decide what's right for you in your unique circumstances; only you can do that. And we don't provide medical, financial, or legal advice; nor do we replace the valuable counsel of those who do.