5 Tips to Keeping Your Health Records Organized
There are so many reasons to keep health information up to date for yourself and family. If you haven’t started already, start keeping records for yourself and family now. You don’t have to go back in time and add information, just start from today moving forward. We will get to the reasons below, but let’s start out with tips for keeping those health records organized!
1. Decide If You Want To Keep Records Organized By Paper Or Electronically
For paper records there are templates and notebooks available for purchase from various vendors or a binder and calendar can work just as well. For electronic records you can organize information in file folders or use an electronic health information software that is built to keep your information secure and organized. (My favorite is TAMVOES!)
2. Don’t Add In Every Detail
Focus on the key elements and summaries of information. Especially information that will get asked during future appointments such as: medical history, notes from appointments, allergies, medications, supplements, and vitamins, surgeries, bloodwork and test results and immunization status.
3. Make It A Habit To Update Information As You Go
You can bring your notebook or computer to appointments and take notes right then! This will be easier to organize in the long term!
4. Let Others Help You!
Teach family members how to update their own information so all the burden doesn’t fall on you. It’s especially important to teach kids how to be involved in their care, so this is one way to let them help!
5. Start Now — Before It’s Too Late!
What happens to records when the doctor’s office merges with another, the pharmacy closes, or records are archived for storage? Medical records don’t have to exist forever. Some can disappear after 5 years. So when you want to go back to see the name of the medication your child had after their surgery 10 years ago, it could be costly to access or hard to find if the record exists at all.
This might seem overwhelming, so why bother?
It’s common to show up to a primary care doctor after seeing the specialist and get frustrated because they didn’t know you already went to the specialist. There are numerous reasons for this breakdown in healthcare communication and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
How do you get around this? Keep your own health records organized! Bring them with you to every visit in case you need to show the doctor health information if they don’t have it. Otherwise, plan on the doctor wasting time during your visit to try to track information down or worse…spending all your time without the information and having to make another appointment to discuss a plan!
As overwhelming as it might be to start organizing information, it’ll reduce frustration and help you feel more prepared to advocate! You don’t have to go back in time, just start from this point forward to get a system in place! And remember to bring your health records with you to all visits!
Do you have a story you would like to share on Talkative? Send us a submission! And if you haven’t already, make sure you signup for a free TAMVOES account so you can get started on tracking all of your vitals to stay up to date with your health as it changes. Learn more on the TAMVOES platform.