Personal Health Records Storage

Your personal health records become more useful and easy to find when in a healthcare binder. You could even extend this to include your family health records.

The health information in these medical records could include results of your blood work, and diagnostic tests (treadmill, mammography, x-ray's, CT scans, MRI reports, etc.). The binder should also contain a list of your physicians with their specialty and contact information, vaccination history, current medications with the dose and how you are taking them (once in the morning, only at bedtime, etc) including any herbs or over-the-counter medications, a list of all your allergies (medications, foods, environmental allergies, etc), and your medical history including any childhood illnesses and surgeries. It would also be a good idea to keep a copy of your Durable Power for Health and Advanced Health Care Directives in the binder.

Be sure your friends/ family are aware of where you keep your healthcare binder!

Why keep your personal health records in a binder? Here are a couple of reasons:

  • It provides an excellent log of all your health concerns/questions with your physician's responses in addition to a history of when your medications may have been changed or the schedule of diagnostic tests your physician may have recommended during your appointments.
  • Whether you are seeing a new specialist or are switching primary care physicians, having your medical records immediately available prevents delays in your care. You can quickly and easily provide your new physicians with a copy of your personal health records from your healthcare binder.
  • In the event you experience a medical emergency, your friends/family members will have easy access to your medical records, which can be life-saving!!!! They can provide this health information to the emergency room staff or any new specialist assigned to your care.
  • Most importantly, you should make yourself familiar with all your medical records in the healthcare binder to see if there are any trends! This is your life, your health, your responsibility!!!!

    I can hear you say "but I didn't go to medical school! I pay my doctor to follow the trends"!!! Doctors are human and they can miss things. You don't have to "know" the meaning of each and every test to see a trend. You can tell if your blood work is consistently going up or down, or you can read if there has been a change in your x-rays, MRI's, CT scans (or mammography reports). Write down what you see and ask your doctor about it during your next appointment!!!!! Don't assume your physician is aware of the changes.

If you are thinking "this is way too much work" think again... it will take more time to prepare for a party with your friends than it will take to write down questions for your doctor. It takes less time to poke holes in the information you are keeping in your healthcare binder than it takes for you to order a pizza.

To make things as easy as possible, I am creating a health information sheet, an appointment calendar, a medication record/worksheet, vitamin/herbal supplements/over-the-counter medication record sheet and appointment note sheet which I invite you to use. You can even buy a ready-made binder from Amazon.com if you want to make things really easy!

In this day of computers, you can easily create an electronic healthcare binder on your computer. Feel free to copy forms which I have created for you or create your own and save them not only on your computer's hard drive but be sure to make a copy on a CD or one of the nifty new USB thumb drives!

brush fireI live in the land of earthquakes and fire storms. Recently, my husband and I were given mandatory evacuation orders. We were able to take our laptops and a CD that held our personally information including health information.

Fortunately, we were able to go back to our home quickly. But, what if you are displaced by a fire, flood, tornado or hurricane?! By keeping a copy of your personal health records in a healthcare binder or on a specific medical 'in case of emergency' (ICE) thumb drive (such as the E-Med Tag drive, or the MedicTag Digital USB drive), you will have immediate access to your medication records, diagnostic tests (which you can scan and save to your thumb drive), physician contact information and much more! Password-protecting the thumb drive may give you peace of mind, but in an emergency, others may not be able to access these vital records.

If you want something that is wearable, you can also use the Medical Alert USB bracelet (not affiliated with MedicAlert Foundation).

If you copy your personal health records to a CD, make sure it is a rewritable CD which will allow you to make revisions or updates to your medical records.

Remember, I am a nurse. I am not a computer whiz! If I can create a file of my personal health records on my computer (or other storage device), you can too!!!

The bottom line is, if you want your golden years to be "golden" you have to be willing to invest the time in yourself and, more importantly, in your health.

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