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Organizing Your Health Records

Having your health records clearly organized helps you and your health professionals make informed health decisions. Being able to review these records can help you monitor your health over time. Other benefits: If you get a second opinion, you can make sure the same tests are not performed again. This can save time, effort and money. Organized records help you remember important information when you fill out forms at the doctor’s office. Here are some tips on what records to keep and how to organize it.
   – Keep the original copies of instructions, lab tests, or other items the doctor gives you. You can write down your own notes about a visit or use your voice recorder on your smart phone.
    – Look through the notes. This will help you check what you thought you heard with what was actually said.
     – Keep contact information, medication lists, and dates of doctor/hospital visits. Your smart phone is a great place to store these.
     – Use a binder, notebook, or accordion file folder to store documents. Keep this up to date in whatever order makes sense to you.
     – If you like to keep the records on your computer, scan the documents and bills, then create a list of what you have.
     – Remember to take this notebook to medical appointments and update it with any new information.

This we often remember certain events or illnesses clearly, it helps to keep a written record over the years of your personal health history. Family history can be important to understanding your own risks for other conditions. Record illnesses, surgeries, hospitalizations, chronic conditions and the dates. Help your provider see the “big picture” of your health by keeping a central source of all medical records. You can request copies of records to be sent or access medical records online through a patient portal. And be sure to inform your doctor of any alternative therapies you have taken to improve your health, such as dietary supplements or acupuncture.

You should also keep a section in the notebook for medical bills and payments. Keep track of expenses like mileage to and from appointments, as these may be deductible from your taxes. Even some over the counter medications can qualify for these deductions.

Remember, your disability does not keep you from being healthy, but it can put you at risk of certain complications, so it’s good to be informed!