If you’ve recently become a caregiver for an older loved one or have a chronic health condition of your own, you may feel as if you are drowning in a sea of paperwork. Keeping it all organized so it can be easily accessed and shared may seem like a daunting task.
The key is to get organized and establish a system that makes it easy to stay on track.
Organizing Your Parent’s Health Information
It may help to get going if you begin by separating health information by topic. Important ones to include are:
- Family history: Most of us have been to see a new physician who asked a variety of family health-related questions to help them assess risk factors. Having a family history typed up with extra copies ready to share can save time when you or your loved one visit a new doctor for the first time.
- Personal medical history: It’s also important to create a summary of your medical history or your loved one’s that includes health conditions, past illnesses, injuries and surgeries. Keep physician office visit summaries, hospital discharge papers, and any written test results to include in this section.
- List of doctors: Put together a list of current and past physicians who are involved in your care or in caring for your family member. Make sure to include all of their contact information, such as address, phone number, email and fax.
- Medication list: Create a comprehensive medication list that includes dosages, times and prescribing physician. It also helps to keep a list of pharmacies where each prescription is filled if there are multiple pharmacies involved. Don’t forget to add over-the-counter medicines as well as herbal remedies. This makes it easier for each physician to spot potential interactions when they are prescribing a new medication.
Options for Storing Health Information
The next step is to decide where and how to store all of this information. It could be something as simple as a large, 3-ring binder. If you go that route, make sure to create a backup copy that is stored in a separate, secure location.
Another option might be to scan all of the documents and store them on your computer. Again, make sure you have a back-up copy on an external hard drive or cloud.
And then there are a variety of digital solutions that are easy to use.
Health Care Management Technology and Apps
There are a variety of technologies and apps that can help you track your own or your parent’s health information. Most have the advantage of being easy to access and share.
A few you might want to explore include:
- Track My Medical Records: This free app gives you a place to store and track important health information. It is easy to access from a desktop computer or mobile device.
- My Medical: Another option that makes it easier to store and access health information is My Medical. This app can be viewed on both a desktop computer and a mobile device. It will even allow you to sync appointments with the calendar on your smart phone.
- Care Zone: For iPhone and iPad users, this is another option to consider. You can store everything from vital signs to medication lists. Care Zone is also a free app.
Our final tip is to speak with your physician’s office manager to determine if they have any proprietary apps or platforms you can use. Some health systems have created their own for patients to use.