Since the days of the family doctor seeing a patient from delivery to retirement are all but gone, a personal medical record is an invaluable tool. Communication with future physicians can be accomplished without the untimely delays of waiting weeks or longer to receive prior records from another physician – if that doctor is still accessible. Even if a doctor you saw years ago is still available, there is a real chance that your old records may have been destroyed and obliterated with zero chance for recovery. Physicians are only required to keep old medical records for a specific period, often 7 years, but this can vary from state to state.
You can see why having a personal copy of your health records is crucial. Who can predict whether diagnoses and test results from the past may be pertinent to the future? But, more importantly, why risk it? Creating a personal copy of health records can be simple yet potentially life-saving.
Get a 3-ring binder with tabs and create the following sections:
- Emergency contact information
- Insurance information
- Medical providers
- PCPs and specialists
- Non-physician providers, such as chiropractors
- Chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes)
- Acute medical conditions (such as the flu)
- Pharmacy information
- Mini-medical record
- Medication allergies/intolerances
- Family history
- Surgeries and procedures
- Social history
- Immunizations/ health screenings
- Health logs; blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol
- Personal health goals, exercise log, and dietary habits
- Test results
- Advance Care Planning
- Miscellaneous information (such as information from home health agencies you have used)
You can also access downloadable, fillable charts with the book Patient Empowerment 101: More than a book, it’s an adventure! In addition, the Patient Empowerment 101 Companion Book can serve as a personal medical record for documenting basic medical information and common symptoms.
Download a free copy of an abbreviated mini-medical record to keep in your wallet at PatientEmpowerment.com.