Keeping your or your loved ones’ medical records organized and readily available can be overwhelming. But it is an important task for the following reasons:
- It minimizes stress and saves time looking for documents.
- You can help identify patterns and make early detection easier for your health provider.
- You can avoid unnecessary duplication of tests by multiple providers.
- It puts you more in control of your own health care.
There are both high-tech and low-tech methods to do this. Read on and choose the one that you are mostly likely to stick with.
- Get document storage boxes at a stationery store, one for each person (including yourself) that you are keeping records for.
- Get a portable file box, one that you can have multiple folders in or even an accordion file with multiple sections. Keep insurance documents in one folder and test results in another. If necessary, ask someone to help you set it up. Sometimes it easier to keep up once you have the system in place.
- Get a book made especially for keeping track of medical history. There are many of them available today. You would then just have to enter dates, providers, etc.
- There are many online programs for keeping your medical records secure and accessible anytime and anywhere. Some programs are free and others charge a monthly or annual fee to use.
Additional tip: Always ask for a copy of test results you have done: blood work, x-rays, sleep studies and others. These results belong to you and you are within your rights to ask for a copy. You should not be charged unless you ask for additional copies. This way you can provide result copies to health-care practitioners and insurance companies as needed without having to go back and remember when and where you had something done.