by guest contributor Rose Hathaway
2013 was quite a year for my extended family. My sister had various medical issues with all three of her children. She made numerous doctors’ visit during the year with her children. It was all very stressful. I’ve asked my friend Rose to share some tips regarding organizing medical records since she has both a records management and organizing background. She came up with some great tips to help in these stressful situations that I wanted to share with the readers of KZOOkids. – Jill
Have you ever left the doctor’s office wishing you had asked a forgotten questions? Does a trip to the doctor leave you feeling overwhelmed?
If you do, you are not alone. Did you know that people only remember a maximum of 20% of what is said in an appointment?
Needless to say, it can be difficult to capture the information we need in a short 10 to 15 minute visit.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Doctor’s Visit
Here are a few tips that can help you keep track of medical visits for your family:
- Record medications and also any changes in the medications – and why changes were made.
- List side effects of medications and why changes were made to medications. “Bobby had to change medications because it turned his hair green”. Years later you can look back and say, “Wait, we tried that one with Dr. Smith and it made Bobby’s hair turn green, he didn’t tolerate that one”.
- ASK QUESTIONS; don’t be afraid to ask questions to your physician. If you don’t understand something that is being said, ask….it is your right to understand as it is you or your family member, you are the advocate!
- At the pharmacy, if a pill looks different or something does not appear as it should, question it. Take medications with you to all your doctor appointments so the doctor can review each medication on every visit.
GET COPIES OF EVERYTHING
Make sure that you get copies of all labs and medical diagnostic tests and keep them for each family member.
KEEP AND ORGANIZE YOUR RECORDS
Keep a record for each family member. This “record” can be a notebook. I like a notebook with tabs so that you can keep notes of each family member.
Be sure to keep your records in order, the oldest on the bottom and the newest on the top. How many times do you go to a practice and each time see a different physician or have to take a trip to the ER? Maintaining good records helps the doctors and helps get the best possible care for you or your loved one.
JOURNAL RECURRING MEDICAL ISSUES
Another tip is to keep a journal. If you or loved ones experience issues on a regular basis, be sure to keep a journal so you can discuss the details at your next doctor visit. It is difficult to remember everything on the spur-of-the-moment within the 10 minute window you have in the appointment.
Dealing with any family medical issues is never easy, but hopefully the above tips with help you with keeping track of your families records.
Rose Hathaway has worked in the medical industry for over 25 years and 15 of those years as a medical records manager. She is also owner of Fly Away Clutter, a Professional Organizing service located in the Kalamazoo area. Rose is available to help with organizing your home, office, downsizing, and project management. Check her out at flyawayclutter.com