There are many, many different ways to store medical records. There are some very good planner systems that you can buy. And there are options to keep your medical records in the cloud, which can be very handy. But sometimes it’s just best to keep it simple.
A friend of mine was concerned that her medical paperwork always seemed to be all over her counter. She is older and has a heart condition, so she sees a quite few doctors, and just wanted to have a neat place to store her papers. She already has a filing cabinet, and it already holds bills and things like the Medicare Reference book that she receives every year. This is really for holding her notes about her visits to her doctors, easy reference for doctor’s office addresses and phone numbers, and things she wants to discuss with her doctors at her next appointment.
We customized this very simple system for her in a small file storage box that she already owned, which is small enough that she can put the lid on and take it to her next appointment. It’s also something that she can tell her family to grab if she needs to head to the hospital in a hurry.
The first folder is where she keeps a list of her current medications and doses, along with any prescriptions that she hasn’t yet filled. It is in a red file so it’s easy to see. I can tell you from experience as an EMT that having a legible list of current meds and doses is super helpful in emergency situations.
The second folder is called “Discuss with Dr,” and it holds her own notes and questions she wants to ask at upcoming appointments, as well as articles that she wants to discuss with her doctor.
The next few folders all relate to specific doctors, and they are in alphabetical order:
- Eye Dr
- Primary Care
The last folder is the health history that she keeps for herself. This includes notes she’s been keeping on her conditions as well as a few important test results and hospital records. She’s actually got several notebooks that’s she’s filled over the years, but only the most recent summary or notebooks stay in this little tote box.
That’s it. The point is to keep it simple and not overwhelming. By keeping the bills elsewhere (in her file cabinet drawer), this health file is really about her health. It’s easy to access, and she’ll be able to find and follow doctor’s orders more easily.