Medical Records - how to organize

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
dm200
Posts: 13179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Medical Records - how to organize

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:32 pm

In the last few years, since I have been with Kaiser - this time since 2011, the online availability of test results, Physician and other visits/services, etc. has greatly expanded and is generally great. All physicians now have access to my whole record. BUT -- there is now so much information - both what I see and what physicians see - sometimes it can be overwhelming - and I now find I sometimes need to remind my Physician(s) of something. I have had several cases of my seeing something in error or misleading in my online record that my PCP has trouble seeing and correcting - unless I send her a screen shot.

Are there good recommendations (or perhaps software?) for organizing this so it is accessible both to me and those who are (or will be) involved in my care in the future.

jebmke
Posts: 6663
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by jebmke » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:57 pm

That is a good question and I am interested in hearing what people say. I have to admit, I have zero records. I have never kept anything related to medical care other than HSA receipts. I've moved so many times that I have no real cumulative history to fall back to other than what is in my memory. When that goes, it is all over.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 13179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:05 pm

jebmke wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:57 pm
That is a good question and I am interested in hearing what people say. I have to admit, I have zero records. I have never kept anything related to medical care other than HSA receipts. I've moved so many times that I have no real cumulative history to fall back to other than what is in my memory. When that goes, it is all over.
I have no medical/health credentials, but as a patient - it is my opinion and experience that the quality of medical care can be highly dependent on the Physician(s) having all of the facts about me. For example, when I saw my PCP last week to discuss (at some length) recent tests/findings and further referrals/tests, I mentioned (as I always do) that I donated blood at the Red Cross a few months ago and that was my only donation in the last year. She commented that such information (while turned out not relevant for me this time) can be important and that another patient of hers only mentioned blood donation (and it was important for that patient) after a whole series of tests, etc.

I suggest you write down what you remember - while you still can :)

mega317
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by mega317 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:10 pm

I don't know about Kaiser specifically but many (most?) EMRs have systems in place to make sure information is accurate. For example to start a new visit in the chart, someone must confirm medications. So in my system a nurse/MA sits down with you and makes sure you'll still taking every medication on the list, and asks if anything has changed in your medical history. Now I'm sure this gets missed, humans aren't perfect, but if it is not a simple matter then maybe there is a problem with that specific office (nurses aren't trained properly, for example).

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 2524
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by Pajamas » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:18 pm

I just keep a Google doc with the dates of procedures that I've had as well as my meds and diagnoses to print out and take with me when I have to fill out paperwork or see a new provider. I also have a written record of my immunizations and the results from certain procedures (films or digital files). I also have access to a summary of my electronic medical records that my providers use and could print that out as well.

The problems with that electronic medical record are that there is a lot of redundant information (lists of with very similar diagnoses recorded by different doctors) and it is sometimes difficult for the doctors to find information even if they know what they are looking for. At one point I had two medical records under two different ID numbers, one of which was blank. There is not really anything I can do about the dysfunctional and difficult-to-use software. The doctors have gotten better at navigating it and now even my one doctor who does not use the same software can access it.

A separate issue is incorrect information (such as a drug allergy) that has crept in. It can be difficult to have that information removed if you don't know who put it in.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 13179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:28 pm

Maybe keep document(s) both online and on a small flash drive I carry with me (or have readily accessible).

namekevaste
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:12 pm

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by namekevaste » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:44 pm

You may want to give Microsoft HealthVault a try - it's free to sign up

blueman457
Posts: 261
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by blueman457 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:39 pm

Organizing medical records can be intimidating, but definitely worth while long term. I deal with looking at charts/patients daily and for complex patients it's very helpful if they have the following information

-medication list: name, dose, how many times a day, and for what illness
-list of medical problems: ex: high blood pressure, stroke, COPD, pacemaker (including brand), etc... date of diagnosis also helpful
-list of surgeries/procedures: name of surgery (as specific as possible), date, and the reason for it
-list of various testing: ECG, echocardiograms, head CT, etc... and the result as specific as possible
-your primary care physician, specialists you see, and their respective office phone numbers

Blue Man

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 13179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by dm200 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:43 am

blueman457 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:39 pm
Organizing medical records can be intimidating, but definitely worth while long term. I deal with looking at charts/patients daily and for complex patients it's very helpful if they have the following information
-medication list: name, dose, how many times a day, and for what illness
-list of medical problems: ex: high blood pressure, stroke, COPD, pacemaker (including brand), etc... date of diagnosis also helpful
-list of surgeries/procedures: name of surgery (as specific as possible), date, and the reason for it
-list of various testing: ECG, echocardiograms, head CT, etc... and the result as specific as possible
-your primary care physician, specialists you see, and their respective office phone numbers
Blue Man
Thanks.

I would add that this documentation should indicate previous conditions/medications where the condition was no longer an issue (and why).

I also want to have such information available in a way that can help my wife or other family members if I, for whatever reason, am not able to communicate it myself.

2015
Posts: 775
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by 2015 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:26 pm

In advance of retirement after reading The Real Age Makeover (about an internal "health" makeover, versus an external one), and learned that the 3 main causes of organ aging are cardiovascular, immune system, and stress, I followed much of the book's recommendations. I had every test, immunization, procedure recommended for my age (i.e., colonoscopy). I created an excel spreadsheet tracking each visit, results, improvements, etc. I also began placing blood work outputs in a separate tab as I was actively engaged through diet in increasing my healthy cholesterol and lowering my bad cholesterol (which I did! HDL improved 11% and LDL decreased 38%!).

My logic for creating my own medical records was two-fold: 1) in retirement, health care expenses are the "wild card", and I wanted to actively monitor and track my health and vitality; and 2) I wanted my own records so I wouldn't be beholden to any doctor when it came to my health. I view all of my health care providers as very expensive consultants. I always go in after doing much research with a lot of questions and then seek their input. In the event I ever have to change providers (consultants), I will be in control of my own health as I will have my own excel record. All of this is in support of my goal of an optimized healthspan (as opposed to lifespan) in retirement, as I prize health and vitality above all else.

The spreadsheet was a lot of work at first, but now I just update it every time I get blood work done or see a health care provider.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 13179
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Medical Records - how to organize

Post by dm200 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:44 pm

2015 wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:26 pm
In advance of retirement after reading The Real Age Makeover (about an internal "health" makeover, versus an external one), and learned that the 3 main causes of organ aging are cardiovascular, immune system, and stress, I followed much of the book's recommendations. I had every test, immunization, procedure recommended for my age (i.e., colonoscopy). I created an excel spreadsheet tracking each visit, results, improvements, etc. I also began placing blood work outputs in a separate tab as I was actively engaged through diet in increasing my healthy cholesterol and lowering my bad cholesterol (which I did! HDL improved 11% and LDL decreased 38%!).
My logic for creating my own medical records was two-fold: 1) in retirement, health care expenses are the "wild card", and I wanted to actively monitor and track my health and vitality; and 2) I wanted my own records so I wouldn't be beholden to any doctor when it came to my health. I view all of my health care providers as very expensive consultants. I always go in after doing much research with a lot of questions and then seek their input. In the event I ever have to change providers (consultants), I will be in control of my own health as I will have my own excel record. All of this is in support of my goal of an optimized healthspan (as opposed to lifespan) in retirement, as I prize health and vitality above all else.
The spreadsheet was a lot of work at first, but now I just update it every time I get blood work done or see a health care provider.
I am also "unusual" in that I look at each and every test result, condition diagnosed/treated, etc. I also almost always have some questions or discussion issues with Physicians. Most of them (especially my Primary Care Physician) seem to actually appreciate an "involved and informed" patient. I also recognize that "Google" is not a substitute for attending medical School. :) As part of these "goals" I also try to avoid unnecessary tests, both as part of contributing to more controlled costs and less things like exposure to more radiation.

Post Reply