How To Create Your Own Medical Record

How many doctors have you seen in the last five years? What tests did each perform, and what were the results? Chances are you don’t remember, and the answers to these questions and more can affect the outcome of your current treatment. Keeping a personal health record will fix this and ensure the best chance of positive outcomes.

Maintaining your own health record helps you remember when to schedule tests and screenings; keep track of treatments, medications, and allergies; relate family history to the risk of illness; and keep track of flare-ups of chronic illnesses, according to AARP. [1]

Creating your personal health record can be completed with these three steps:

  1. Get your medical records from your doctor.
  2. Review your records and find and fix any mistakes.
  3. Compile your records into one location. [2]

Start by making a list of all the places you’ve received treatment as far back as possible. Include places like hospitals and clinics, urgent care centers and emergency rooms, specialists, laboratories, quick-care clinics and pharmacies, telephone and online consultations, and health insurance providers.

Gather your records. You can do this in several ways. Under HIPPA, you have the right to see and obtain copies of your medical records. If you request paper copies, you’ll probably have to pay for copying and mailing. These costs can add up fast, so you might want to try an alternate method.

Ask if your medical providers use electronic health records and how they make them available. If your doctors, specialists, labs, and caregivers all work within the same network, they probably have access to your information this way.

Sign up and sign in to patient portals. These websites give you access to much of the information in your records, like bills, treatments, and medications. Most also allow you to communicate with your doctors.

Make your own files. Keep physical copies of your records in a notebook. Make sections for your medical providers, surgeries and procedures, medications and allergies, labs and x-rays, doctor’s notes, and admission and discharge summaries. Make extra notes on your computer or phone.

Check your records for accuracy. Catching and correcting errors helps optimize your treatment and enables you to make sure you were billed correctly.

Whatever method you choose, make your records easy to take with you, easy to share, and easy to maintain. This can mean a file folder, secure emails to your caregivers through the portals, and computer files.

Creating your own medical record will keep you, your loved ones, and caregivers informed, and can even help head off future health problems.