Creating an Easily Managed Medical Records System


Lots of easy choices and tips to get your medical records straight for the safety of you and your family. (The Health-Minded.com) #health #family


It is with a bit of trepidation that I bring up the topic for this month's health plan as any subject related to paper sorting, I want to run for the hills!  Really. I do.  But, stay with me here. No major hours digging through piles of papers required. Some effort is necessary, though. Getting our medical records in order is so important as it can play a key role in keeping you and your family safe and getting the best outcome should a medical issue arise. (Crossing my fingers it won't, of course!)

Your system can be as simple or as high-tech as you choose. And, remember . . .  once you create a system, it is minor upkeep from here on in. Nice, huh?






How to Get Your Medical Records in Shape and What To Include


Here are some steps to take to put your medical records in great order:

1. Gather about.  In January's Health Plan, I listed a task to create a medical file for each family member or persons you care for.  So, let's pick up from there.

You may already have files started. Great! Or, hmmm . . .  maybe not. OK, But those medical papers are somewhere. Go fetch them, please, and put these kinds of things in one file for each family member:
  • all surgeries and hospitalizations with dates and locations
  • list of regular medications
  • all allergies
  • all medical procedures and test results
  • past doctors and test results
  • blood type
  • vaccines
  • family history (see step 3 below)
  • notes from doctor visits on protocol you are to follow, hospital discharge orders
This paper gathering is not a wasted step even if you decide to go the electronic route to keeping your medical files organized. (And there are many advantages and disadvantages on that listed further down the post). These papers are still needed to input the information. I always think is is prudent to have such important information in hand as well in case the system is down or entry errors have been made. 



2.  Request copies always.  If you find you do not have important medical documentation, you can begin to call your doctors and hospitals, etc. and request them.   

From this point on, request medical information always and file them when you get home. After all my medical appointments and those for my family, I ask for test results copies. That may require a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a signed request.  Or, depending on your doctor or hospital, they can email you those as well or load into your web based system.  In addition, always get the CD after an MRI or other high tech exam as well for you to keep and bring to any follow-up appointments regarding the issue.  



3.  Look way back.  Create one family medical history document that you can copy and include in each family member's file.  Ask your relatives and check with your spouse, too, on his or her side to include for your children.



4.  Help first responders.  I wrote about having emergency medical information accessible over here with lots of tips and tools to make that easy for you and for a medical team that is caring for you in an emergency situation. This information may be crucial for you to receive the best care and most accurate diagnose without errors. After all, you may not be able to speak up about those issues, so it is so important if you or a family member has any allergies, regular medications, etc. to list that information for them. Please check that post out for the many ways to record that information.


5.  Some things are critical.  Something we never want to imagine is a stay in an intensive care unit.  But it happens.  Get those critical care medical forms ready to include in that file. It includes this:
  • living will
  • any documents for treatment limits such as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), intubation, feeding tube, IV fluids, etc.  
Make sure your family knows where this is. Remember you are doing this for your family, too. The more they know your wishes, the less stress they will face. Here are some links with specifics on that.


6.  Other files to keep.  Here are a few other files you may want to create to keep paying those medical bills easier, or . . . at least more organized!
  • doctor, lab, hospital bills
  • insurance claims you file with the insurance company
  • paid insurance claims and bills
  • receipts for out-of-pocket expenses

7.  Keep working on that list.  I also suggested in January's Health Plan to begin thinking of any health questions you have for your next doctor visit. Keep a running list on your phone or elsewhere to add to easily if you think of something.

How is that task coming along? If you or a family member has any medical issues, have you gathered any research or heard of any new treatment plans you want to discuss with your doctor? Give that a few minutes of thought to see if there is something you want to put on your research list.




The Pros and Cons of Electronic Medical Programs


Thinking of chucking the whole bit and going paperless for your medical records? It is tempting, I know. There are a whole range of electronic choices to help you store your medical files with various amazing options. Here is information on going with a web based or software based system.

First, some pros:

  • They all let you update records electronically by loading a program onto your computer or subscribing to a Web-based service. You still have to enter the information, though, if you doctor can't automatically send it to your service.
  • Some programs alert you to drug recalls, if a family member has a medical emergency, and follow-up appointments.
  • Some get really fancy and graph your testing results for you to see what changes have occurred.
  • The information can be shared easily among your medical team.

However, some cons:
  • Many cost money.
  • Entering the medical information can be time-consuming and tedious.
  • If they collect information from insurance companies and doctors, there can be mistake.
  • You may start to get unsolicited ads.
  • Privacy can never be guaranteed.

So, do you have your files in order and want to share a tip or two on doing so easily? Do you use an electronic system you think is pretty terrific? Please let us know!

For More On The Topic . . . 


21 comments:

  1. I haven't really embraced the electronic route yet, like you said, privacy worries me a bit. And although when it comes to the kids, I'm beyond methodical holding on too every last record and sorting them in the filing cabinet....when it comes to my husband and myself, I get so careless. Thanks for reminding me to be more careful!

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    1. Glad I could give you a nudge. I hope you never need them . . .but if you do, you sure will be happy with yourself that you have them! Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

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  2. This is something I have never thought about doing, but you are really making me think now. Maybe I should keep track of my records.

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    1. You really should try, Dannii. Follow the easy steps and then its all down hill from there! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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  3. Oh man. You seriously just gave me the kick in the rear I need.. my records - medical, school, financial, EVERYTHING - is all in a shambles right now! I am so on this... - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. You can do it, Gingi! Awareness is the first step. Thanks so much for coming by. Please let me know how it goes for you!

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    2. I just have trouble getting started, ya know?? The pile and jumbles of papers seem so daunting to start in on!!

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    3. Oh yes, I know. I think many of us have experienced that. Perhaps set a timer and devote a certain time of day or week that you devote to this project. It won't get done in a day but remember you are making movement towards fixing it. Set up your files first and then items can start to be dropped in. It may not be perfect at first, but that is okay. Some organization for these things is much better than none. So glad you are starting! Hats off to you!!

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  4. I never thought about keeping a file for my medical records and the funny thing about it, I DO it for my cat Ginger LOL. I think I might start doing this but do it the old fashion way to see how it goes. Thanks for the interesting article and visiting the #wowlinkup

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    1. Lucky, Ginger! I am so glad to hear you will start a system for yourself, too, Sheila, as you never know when you will need it. Thanks so much for commenting and stop back and let me know how it goes!

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  5. I started really trying to organize our medical records last year when my husband had to have surgery. There was just so much to keep track of! These are great tips! Hopefully I'll be able to step up my organization game! :)

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    1. I hope so, too, and this plan can help! Thanks so much for joining in here.

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  6. I have never really thought about my medical records. EEEk I know. Especially since for 23 years of it they are in America and the last 8 years they are in the UK. Gosh knows. These are great tips. I probably should get them in order just in case. You never know. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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    1. Good luck, Jenny! Do your best to follow the steps and see what you can organize for you and your family. Thanks so much for coming by.

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  7. I've implemented EMRs and they are the best thing going that a doctor's office can do. It is more professional, reduces error rates and ensures the physician and their assistants are putting in complete medical information. It is also a quick way for a physician to look up your history, review allergies, etc. I am a strong proponent for them. Also putting all of your medical information in an easy-to-grab place like the refrigerator is an option especially for the elderly in the event the paramedics come to the house and need to know some basic information. #wowlinkup

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    1. Thanks so much for adding your experience here! That is helpful!

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  8. Thanks for sharing with us at Pin-Worthy Wednesday! Useful info!

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  9. I have been caring for my father who has been ill for a few years. This information is quite helpful. Thank you for sharing these great tips for creating an efficient medical records system with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I sincerely appreciate it. I’m pinning and sharing!


    Natural Party Blog Hop! I sincerely appreciate it. I’m pinning and sharing!

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    1. I hope it helps you! That is a big and important job and of course, stressful as well. My best wishes for a full recovery for your Dad.

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