Are you or, is somebody you love, going through a rough medical diagnosis?
Consider creating a three-ring notebook where you can keep your own medical records.
- You will have all of your medical records in one place from doctors all over. (I literally have medical records from 9 different states, and at least 40 doctors.)
- It saves time. If Doctor B needs medical records from busy Doctor A, but Doctor A has not faxed them over yet, you don’t have to wait for Doctor A to finally get to it, you can just hand them to Doctor B yourself.
- It saves frustration. When you move, you don’t need to worry about your medical records getting lost (this has already happened to me twice, so it was GREAT that I had my own records).
- Sometimes based on a person’s medical history, there will be a doctor who will start connecting the dots and might need medical records you did not think to ask a previous doctor to send. If you have all of your records with you, you can help your doctor (and yourself) by providing the information he or she is looking for.
- You will become a more educated patient and doctors will tend to treat you with more respect. (It is sad, but true.)
- It saves money by preventing additional medical tests to be performed (if the same test has already been run). I have saved our insurance LOTS of money by showing that tests had already been performed and did not need a repeated test (at that time).
- Purchase a 3-ring Binder
- Place those old-school dividers in the notebook, so that you can easily flip to the information you need.
- Organize your medical information. The following system is what I use and it has worked very well for me:
- Ruled paper where I can jot down notes or any questions I have for my doctor
- CBC’s – Complete Blood Counts
- Other blood work, organized by date (I break this down with additional dividers for specific tests that I know my doctors are tracking.)
- Surgical Procedure Reports
- Non-Surgical Procedure Reports
- Biopsy Reports
- Scan Reports (CT, MRI, PET, EKG, Echo’s)
- Treatment Reports
- Doctor Information (If you can find plastic business card inserts for three-ring binders, these work perfectly.)
I would also encourage you to also keep copies of all radiology scans. (Radiology Departments will make them a copy if they ask before the procedures.) Just a couple of months ago, I was able to get a second opinion of a PET Scan on the spot because I had a copy of the scan with me. I didn’t have to get another scan, or wait for reports and hard copies of the scans to be sent… the second opinion happened all at one appointment.
You are your biggest advocate for your own health (and sometimes the only one). Be prepared. Be organized. Keep your own medical records. And, be able to better assist doctors who are helping you to find a balance with your medical condition!