Protecting Your Important Health Records

by Emily McBride
(last updated November 16, 2009)

Many of us worry about keeping our records safe, but some of us forget that it's important to keep medical records safe as well. We shouldn't just rely on the doctor's office to keep track of our information, especially because you have probably been to more than one doctor. It's good to keep medical records if you are living on your own, but it is even more important if you have a big family. It can be hard to remember every detail about each family member. It is good to keep this information at easy access, especially in case of an emergency. Here is a list of information that you should have about each person of your family in your record:

  • Name, birth-date, blood type
  • Emergency contact information
  • Immunization records
  • Any allergies (especially to medications)
  • Any chronic diseases
  • List of medicines usually taken (include dosages and how often you take them)
  • Dates of major surgeries and illnesses
  • Family history of disease
  • Dates of doctors visits and last physical

The kinds of illnesses that should be included on a regular list are asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, any history of cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, visual or hearing difficulties, and genetic disorders.

One good way to keep some of this information organized (especially dates of doctor visits, surgeries, and illnesses) is to use a spreadsheet on your computer. You can put months on the top of the spreadsheet (column headings), and years going down the other side (or vice versa). This can help you keep accurate track of your information, and it is often easier to find saved documents on the computer than it is to find paperwork scattered throughout the house. If you prefer to do it in paper format instead, make sure that you have some kind of file system so that you can keep everything organized and easily accessible. A file system is also good for documents that only come in paper format (receipts, prescriptions, etc.). There are also places online that can help you keep your information safe and accurate.

It is good to have a small printout of some of this basic information in your first aid kit as well.

If you haven't kept track of any of your records so far, contact all of the doctors' and dentists' offices, as well as the hospital or anywhere else you have gone. They can give you the records they have on file, and then you can compile them and keep them altogether.

Not only is it good to keep this information for emergencies, but it is also very helpful when you are filing insurance claims or going to new care providers as well.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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