Staying on top of your medical records and health information isn’t easy (or very exciting), but taking this step can help ensure you get the best care possible.
Find out what to keep on hand, where to find your information and how to organize it.
Why is it important to have complete, organized health records?
Many of us get care from multiple providers, and that means each one may have only part of our medical history. An incomplete history can lead to inaccurate diagnoses, dangerous prescription interactions, and even repeated medical tests (and unnecessary bills). Having your complete health records on hand can improve your treatment, especially in an emergency.
Step One: Assemble the essential information. Gather or create records of your family health history, personal health history, food and medication allergies, immunizations, current medications and copies of your living will and health care power of attorney.
Step Two: Obtain what you’re missing. Only you or your authorized representative can access your medical information, and there’s no portal conveniently holding everything in a single location. You can expect to contact multiple providers to request copies of your health information. Making a list of clinics, hospitals and other health care providers you’ve seen can help you get started.
Step Three: Keep everything organized. Digital files are one option if that’s your preference, but paper copies are okay, too. Choose a filing method, such as by year or by ailment, so you or your authorized health care representative can easily find what you need in a hurry. Extra copies to share with providers are also helpful.
Feel free to share these steps with a friend or family member who might appreciate the info. And remember, you can always reach out with questions about your policy.