Keeping track of medical information for each household member is a daunting task. When you have family members who are under the care of a general practitioner or pediatrician, as well as specialty doctors, it gets even more complicated. Between appointments, medications and other documents, you have a lot of records. Multiply that by the number of people in your household and it seems like an unmanageable task, although it doesn’t have to be.
A family medical binder allows you keep everyone’s record in a central location, and makes storage of that information a cinch.
There are a few different methods you can use to keep your family’s medical information organized. One way is to use a 3-ring binder and dividers. Each divider will store 1 family member’s information. Use a hole punch to add additional information like immunization records, explanation of benefits forms, and doctor’s bills. Using one binder allows you keep everyone’s information at your fingertips. But this also means you’ll carry everyone’s information to each person’s doctor visit.
You can also use 2-pocket folders with prongs or pocket folders which fit inside 3-ring binders. Each folder will store one family member’s information. The benefit to using folders is that you only carry that individual person’s medical information to doctor’s visits, but the disadvantage is that you’ll have everyone’s health information stored separately, which means more folders to keep track of.
Only you can decide which method will work best for you and your family.
Information to Track
Whichever method you use, you’ll want to track the same information for each family member.
First, each family member will have 1 sheet of paper which contains their name, date of birth, social security number, and doctor’s names, addresses, and phone numbers. Also record any medications which are consumed on a regular basis, their dosage amounts, and the prescribing physician, any known drug allergies, and preferred pharmacy information. Finally, record current health conditions. Type this information into a word processing program and then print it out.
After you’ve recorded the basic information above, you’ll want to add lined paper to record doctor’s visits. For each doctor’s visit record the date, the doctor seen, and the reason for the visit (annual exam, sick visit, sports physical, etc.). Take notes about the diagnosis provided, prescriptions written, immunizations received, weight, height, and blood pressure information.
As you receive paperwork in the mail or at the end of the doctor’s visit, add it to the folder or binder. It only takes a few minutes to do this, but it helps you keep your family’s medical information together and organized.
The most important part is to take the binder or folder with you to the appointments. Also, prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor, write them on the lined paper as well. That way they’re right in front of you when you or your child is in front of the doctor, and they can be answered immediately.
Organize Your Medical Information Month
Take advantage of October’s “Organize Your Medical Information Month”, and commit to organizing your family’s medical information. Then every October purge records more than a year old and store them in a safe place (or shred them). Setting up this system will take time the first year, but gets easier much every year after that.
Monique Burkes is a freelance writer based in Columbia, SC. She has been blogging for fun and for profit for almost 3 years. She writes blog posts for business owners at http://writerista.com.