October 12, 2012

Day 12: Maintaining Your Health Records

Maintaining your own health records seems like it should be a simple task.  But when you have a chronic medical condition and have to see lots of specialists to even get the correct diagnosis, it can be challenging.  I suggest keeping a binder.

Keep a business card from every specialist you see (especially the ones you didn’t like!).  You can write a quick note on the back about what you thought about the experience and something to jog your memory in case you ever have to see that type of doctor again. 

Behind the business cards, keep a supply of binder paper.  We all take notes at our appointments and you never know when you’ll need to write something down.

Now that we've got the basics figured out, let’s move onto the dividers.

In the first section, keep track of all doctor’s visits.  What date, who you saw, reason for visit. 

Next section, lab results.  Keep them all in one place.  The actual results will say who ordered the tests in case you need to know that information.  Always ask for a copy of your lab results.  We all know things can get lost along the way (or never sent in the first place) and things will go a lot smoother if you have your own copies.

For the rest of the sections, I suggest doing it one of two ways.  1. Keep everything divided by issue.  Example: POTS, food allergies, appendectomy… or 2. Keep everything divided by specialist.  Example: Primary Care Doctor, Cardiologist, Allergist…

I divide mine the first way because it’s how I think about everything.

With one binder (or two or three binders), it’s a lot easier to keep track of your medical records and to always be prepared at a doctor’s appointment.

What are your tricks for keep all your information and paperwork organized?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

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