Available in August

Health is the focus of August with the month being designated as both National Wellness Month and National Immunization Month. Whether you often deal with health issues or rarely see a doctor, keeping your health and medical information organized and available is important.

If you have been to a doctor in the last 10 years you probably have heard of HIPPA. Part of this law grants us the right to our own healthcare information. Having access to that information may not useful unless you know what to keep and have it ready when the need arises.

Medical information to keep:
-List of allergies
-List of medications: Name, strength, and dosage.
-List of Doctors: Name, contact information and what role they play.
-Online portals for each provider (if you use them)
-Health Insurance plan and number
-Hearing, Vision and Dental results
-Blood type
-List of surgeries and dates Immunizations records including dates
-Family history of disease

If you are missing a specific piece of your health information, you can call or email your doctor’s office and ask for a copy. HIPPA requires that providers share this information with you.

Whether you chose to keep your records on paper or store them electronically, there are several ways to manage your medical records. If you only have a few paper documents to store, putting them into three files, Current Health, Health History (Surgeries, Immunizations, Family History), and Health Insurance/Bills, may be sufficient. However, the more health information you have, the more files you may need. You may want to create a file for each doctor or specialty. You can create a folder for each person in your family and keep their records separately.

Many medical providers give visit summary print outs as well as post the information on their online charting system or patient portal. Unless there is a new development like an ailment or medication change, it may not be necessary to keep every update or summary. When you add new information to your files remember to look for older documents that you no longer need and can be recycled or shredded.

If you chose to use an online patient portal for your medical information, be sure to sign up for each provider’s system. Even though you can obtain information from portals, it is still a good idea to have a list of basic information like doctors, medications, and allergies available in a stored document or on paper. In addition, keeping this information on your phone either in document form or by taking a photo of a paper list will make it easy to reference when visiting a medical professional or in case of an emergency.

As August begins take time to gather and store your medical information in an organized way so that it is easily available. This will help make you and your life feel a little bit better.

© 2021 Beth Giles

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