Is your desk neat as a pin or do you have to dig to find the surface hiding under mounds of paper? For many of us, filing and record keeping are at the bottom of the list of things we want to deal with. But when it comes to your health, keeping track of your medical records can literally be a life saver. That’s why I’m going to share my secret for organizing your health records.
Are you ready? It’s a 3-ring binder. No joke. I keep my entire medical history in a low-tech 3-ring binder. Technically at this point I have more than one binder, but that’s just because my health has not always been the greatest. I keep one binder for my general health and another for my hormone health, because hormones are my big, on-going issue.
I love my binder - it’s reliable, it’s easy to add information that comes to me on paper as well as electronic files, and it’s portable. And that really is the key – portability. Whenever I have a doctor’s appointment, my binder goes with me. And that means no matter what the appointment is about, I have my entire history right at my fingertips.
To get started, all you need is a big 3-ring binder and some divider tabs. You can do whatever makes sense to you, but here’s how my tabs are set up:
· Diary – This is my medical health journal. It can be hard to think back and figure out what could have triggered something else. So I keep track of my health each day, especially things that are out-of-the ordinary like headaches or changes to my diet.
· Tests – My doctors know that whenever they order tests, I want a printed copy of the results. For scans, I also get a copy of the actual scan as well as the written report from the radiologist. I punch holes in plain envelopes to make sleeves for CDs and DVDs so everything stays together in the binder.
· Insurance – I have a copy of my insurance policy in the binder so I have easy access to see what procedures my insurance will cover.
· Living will – A living will is a document that lets you assign someone to be your advocate to speak for you if you are too sick or injured to speak for yourself.