How many times have you gone to the doctor only to be bombarded with questions regarding your health history? Did it leave you wide-eyed and unable to recall specific dates? If you are like most people, you are not alone with an event such as this. While most individuals take pride in their health and have an idea of what their history is, it is often difficult to recall exact dates and procedures.
Having detailed health records can help you to avoid any confusion when visiting the doctor’s office or when an emergency arises and treatment is required. A personal health record contains information, data, and statistics about your health.
In this article, you will learn the importance of keeping accurate health records. We’ll also cover other information that you may wish to include in the record to make it as complete as possible.
Why Should I Keep A Personal Health Record?
When it comes to putting together a personal health record, you need to be prepared to spend a bit of time to create one that is thorough and correct. This document could save your life. Knowing this should encourage you to put much effort into the creation.
Many people do not think about the importance of a personal health record until it is too late. While you may never need to access or use your personal health record, it is a document that could prove to be invaluable.
Unfortunately, you cannot always plan for times of serious illness or injury that may leave you unable to speak for yourself. When these events occur, they can be extremely traumatic and often do not occur around people that know you extremely well. If this is the case, you must have a document like a personal health record that can speak for you. (Source: My Health Champion)
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When Do I Need a Personal Health Record?
You may be thinking that your memory is sharp, and the doctor has your medical records, so why go through the bother of creating another document? When exactly do you need a health record?
It would be wise to keep the record with you when you are traveling or making medical decisions.
Many unexpected events can occur when you are traveling, some of which may require medical care. If this occurs, having your personal health record on hand will be extremely helpful. Not only will it ease some of the stress you may be feeling, but it will also allow the doctor to treat you properly.
Making medical decisions:
Throughout your life, you will be responsible for making several medical decisions. While most of the time, you will have the sound advice of a medical professional, there may be a time that you need to assess your personal health record to determine if a decision is right for you. By having access to your personal health record, you will be able to make an informed decision more easily.
(Source: Berkeley Wellness)
What Should I Include in My Personal Health Record?
A personal health record is exactly what it sounds like. It is a detailed record of your health history. Some individuals have quite an extensive health history. Therefore, they may not realize what information is important to include in a personal health record.
A personal health record is a document that can protect you in case of an emergency. It supports you when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Some things you may wish to include in your personal health record are:
This may not seem like a big deal, but if you are in a situation and require an emergency blood transfusion, your blood type must be known. This is especially important if you have a particularly rare blood type that can only be replaced by its own.
When you include your allergy information, it is also important to include the specific reaction you have when the allergy is triggered, as well as when the first allergy attack occurred. This can be helpful if you need treatment for an allergic reaction.
Doctor Contact Information:
It is especially important to include the contact information for your primary care physician in this record. If you are in a situation that does not allow you to communicate your medical history accurately, your doctor will be an invaluable resource that can make treatment much easier.
You will want to include a list of emergency contacts in your personal health record. This will allow healthcare providers to contact someone that may be able to speak on your behalf if needed.
If you have any medical implant in your body, it must be documented in your personal health record. Implants can include pacemakers, metal plates or screws, or other prosthetic devices that may impact treatment.
Including a medical history in the personal medical plan is essential. It can help your treating physician to determine the best method of treatment for your issue or condition.
A list of current medications that you are taking will be extremely helpful as well.
When listing the medications, be sure to list the following:
- the length of time you have been taking the medication,
- and the times of day you take the medication.
Vaccines: An updated list of your vaccines will also be helpful when you are seeking treatment.
Taking time to include a brief family history can be helpful when you are being treated for illness as well. If the situation is significant, and you are unable to speak for yourself, your family medical history may be able to provide insight into your condition for the physician.
(Sources: Sharecare and Mayo Clinic)
Should I Make Copies of My Personal Health Record?
After seeing how important a personal health record can be, you may be wondering if you need to make copies of it. Remember, this document contains confidential information that you may not want other people to have access to. However, it would likely be wise to give a copy to an individual you trust in case something happens, and you do not have access to it.
The person you choose is completely up to you. However, you should have them listed as an emergency contact somewhere. Medical professionals can contact them if you are unable to do so yourself.
Do You Have to be a Certain Age to Keep a Health Record?
Keeping personal health records is not only something older individuals and those who have a host of health issues should do. Personal health records are useful documents to have for any age.
The purpose of a personal health record is to ensure that your health information is readily available when needed. This is where a personal health record can be of assistance, not only for yourself but for your children and spouse as well. Personal health records can be incredibly handy for families with multiple kids that have to keep track of many different records.
Keeping a personal health record is something that takes time to create; however, the benefit of having your medical information organized in one place could be extremely helpful. It is important to remember that you will not always have to access your medical information for an emergency.
If you are visiting a new physician, it could also be handy, as it takes time for medical records to transfer between doctors. It is also wise to have a health record when you are traveling to ensure you are prepared in the event of an emergency.