The Next Step to Better Health by Organizing Your Medical Records

Kim Kubsch

In our younger years, typically, medical records are not in clear focus. As the years add up, medical records expand, just like our waistlines!

The best way to truly keep ahead of your health is to record each medical appointment or activity. After your appointments, preparing written or typed notes and follow-up activities, plus a documented receipt for payment, will keep your health history at your fingertips. Since the payments may need to be summarized annually for tax documents, you will be ahead of the task.

Summary of Medical Care by Type and Year

Summarizing one’s medical care by type and year can easily be documented on a spreadsheet. Each year you will add a vertical column to document the appointments. The easy-to-compare spreadsheet becomes a diary of your health at a glance and will serve as reminders for annual, semi-annual, and quarterly appointments.

Create a Doctor Directory

List healthcare providers, practice/clinic name, practice specialty, contact phone, address, email, and website. If the provider has a medical records portal, include user ID and login information. Include a column for insurance, pharmacy notes, and the name of the medical assistant, as each helps summarize this information.

Medical Records to Keep Handy

In a three-ring binder, organize all records, starting with your medication list, doctor list, blood tests, vaccination history, and summary of medical care by type and year. Following these sections, add subfolders by specialization, then by provider. Include all the doctor’s notes, visit summaries, lab results, and any imaging or specialized tests ordered by that doctor. Sort them in chronological order by date, with the most recent towards the front.

Make sure your three-ring binder for current health is readily available to take to appointments with you. For historical health records, use file folders. Your comprehensive current and historical records should include these categories:

• Summary of Health History: Include conditions, allergies, past surgery list, accidents, and hospitalizations.

• Personal Information (cover page): Date of birth, copy of your current insurance card, emergency contact, living will, and medical power of attorney.

• Primary Care Physician: Name, address, phone number, website, and/or portal login.

• Doctor Visit Summaries and Notes: Try three-ring divider tabs, using pages with a pocket to insert all the papers in chronological order.

• Your Health: Blood test results and blood pressure records. Also include imaging records to include x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, mammograms, colonoscopy, and PSA results.

• Hospitalizations, Surgeries and Procedures: Dates, reason, and medical office information.

• Your Medication List: Correct prescription name, dosage, frequency, reason for taking, supplier, current supplements, previous medications, and reason for stopping.

• Your Immunization History: Type and year.

• Dental, Vision, Wellness Records

• Your Family Medical History: Include the health status or date of death for maternal and paternal grandparents, parents, and siblings.

• Specialist Doctors and Journal of Symptoms: For each symptom include a description, the severity, frequency and duration, the date and time when it started, anything that may have contributed to it, anything that makes it better or worse, and any other relevant information. Record symptoms while they occur.

• Insurance Forms Related to Medical Treatment

Putting this information together in one place could save your life!

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