Four Tips to Help You Organize Your Medical Information
The start of a new year means a fresh beginning. Many Americans across the nation use January as a time to set new intentions for the year ahead. Among the top ten New Year’s resolutions is one that seems a little misfitting: get organized. Ironically, January is National Get Organized Month.
Studies have shown the adverse effects of living in a cluttered environment. Clutter and disorganization can increase stress levels, decrease productivity, and further exasperate depression and anxiety. Also, disorganization is a time-waster. On average, up to one hour, every day is spent searching for misplaced items.
Following National Get Organized Month, take time this January to organize your medical information. Developing and maintaining your own system will help you stay current with doctor appointments and ensure your medications and insurance claims are accurate. It can also ensure your medical wishes are met in the event of a life-threatening emergency. Here are four tips to help you organize your medical information this month.
Designate a Single Place to File Documents
It’s essential that you find a single home to house all your medical records. Many seniors prefer a filing cabinet or document box to file their records. Use whichever system works best for you and commit to organizing it this month. Each of your doctors should have its own file folder where you can store printouts from your visits in chronological order. Include a file folder for insurance as well to keep track of claims and payments. Keep all medical information together so that you and/or your family can quickly access important information.
Create a Medical Binder
In addition to having a single place to file documents, it’s a great idea for seniors to create a medical binder. Use a three-ring binder to keep key records organized and readily accessible. Start with a personal health history that includes current medical conditions and how you’re being treated, allergies, past procedures, surgeries, accidents, or hospitalizations. Then, keep a year’s worth of doctor visit summaries, hospital discharge notes, and any lab or test results. It’s also a good idea to include your family medical history. Finally, include emergency contact information, a copy of your insurance cards, and a copy of legal documents, such as a living will or medical power of attorney. Take this binder with you to each future doctor’s appointment and refer to it as needed.
List of Current and Past Medications
It’s also important to include a list of current and past medications in your medical binder. Document each medication you currently take—the drug name, dosage, start date, condition it’s treating, and any side effects you’ve experienced. Include all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements you take regularly. Review your medication list after every doctor appointment and update as needed. Also, list the contact information of your preferred pharmacy and file this with your medication list.
Set Up Patient Portals Accounts
Finally, use this month to set up patient portal accounts with medical providers that offer this service. Patient portals allow patients to access lab results, message their doctor, review doctor notes from recent appointments, and schedule future appointments. Check with your health care providers to see what patient portal they use and how to set up an account. Then, record log-ins and passwords and store them in a safe place.
As you spend time organizing your medical information this month, perhaps you’re aware that you need more help at home.Visiting Angels Fort Worth is here for you. We provide home care services for older adults that range from medication reminders to meal preparation, assistance with grooming to meaningful companionship. We work diligently to offer personalized assistance that gives you and your family peace of mind. Our caregivers are well-vetted, experienced, and highly trained so that you can rest assured you are receiving quality care. To learn more about us, please contact us