Everyone should strive to control their personal medical history. Records disappear from hospitals and doctors' offices; people forget parts of their medical histories when they visit new doctors and complete personal medical history charts; many depend on a doctor to always see and grab all the puzzle pieces and fit them together in the correct diagnosis during their doctor appointment.
Maintain your own set of personal medical health history forms, and you put yourself in the driver's seat. You can provide copies of lost records; you can visit a new doctor armed with your entire medical history; you can actively help your doctor by giving him or her the information needed to properly diagnose you. Based on your preferences, consider one or more of the following ways to manage your personal medical history records:
1. Subscribe to a web-based personal medical history service.
2. Purchase or download personal medical history software that lets you fill out, save and share your own medical record personal history forms.
3. Create or buy a personal medical history book.
Consider a web-based solution that lets you manage and share your personal medical historyWeb-based services provide a great way to stay on top of managing your medical history, and they let you share information directly with any participating medical professional to whom you grant access. With these services, participating doctors, with your permission, can add notes and test results to your records after a visit. Some services charge a reasonable fee, and many provide additional options like fitness and diet management and printable cards for your wallet that contain your medical history.
Create and store personal medical history records on your computerIf you don't quite trust the Internet as a place to store your personal history medical forms, consider purchasing or downloading software that lets you create personal medical history records on your computer. If you trust the security you've installed on your computer, then you should feel confident the documents you create will remain safe.
Buy or create your own personal medical history bookIf you feel more confident leaving your medical history off your computer, you can still gain control by making or buying a personal medical history book. You can fill out a personal medical history form in the book, take the book with you to your doctor's appointment and then log the results of the visit later to keep the book current.
- Regardless of the method you choose to manage your own personal medical history, ensure you consider security measures like encryption to protect your information. Read the fine print before you sign up for software or web-based solutions.
- Most doctors don't have the time, staff or interest in recording information on a website. Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) privacy laws, it's possible that the doctor's office will refuse to divulge information on the Internet.
- Include appropriate medical powers of attorney, insurance information and any advance directives with your personal medical history. It's smart to also start a health record for elderly parents.