Personal Health Record

Personal Health Record journal with tabs marking different sections

In the months following my meningioma diagnosis,  I went to dozens of doctors, hospitals and labs.  Each time I went to a new clinic, I was always missing something. I never seemed to have ALL of the information I needed. 

To get myself organized, I created an ongoing personal health record in the form of a 3" thick 3-ring binder.  This allows me to manage all that information in one, easily accessible, portable location.  This works well for me, but for those wanting to keep track of medical information electronically, try the new Mayo Clinic Health Manager

The Mayo Clinic Health Manager is "a free online tool that can help you protect and manage your family's health. You can use it to organize health information for multiple family members in one place and get individualized, actionable recommendations developed by Mayo Clinic experts."  I'd like to use this application, but working on the computer is difficult for me, so I just do it the oldfashion way.

What information goes in a personal health record?

You decide what you put in your personal health record. In general, though, it needs to include anything that helps you and your health care providers manage your health — starting with the basics:

  • Your primary care doctor's name and phone number
  • Allergies, including drug allergies
  • Your medications AND supplements, including dosages (see Medication Tracking)
  • Chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure
  • Major surgeries, with dates
  • Living will or advance directives

You can also add information about what you're doing to prevent disease, such as:

  • Results of screening tests
  • Cholesterol level and blood pressure
  • Exercise and dietary habits
  • Health goals, such as stopping smoking or losing weight

What are the benefits of a personal health record?

Having a personal health record can be a lifesaver, literally. In an emergency you can quickly give emergency personnel vital information, such as a disease you're being treated for, medications you take, drug allergies, and how to contact your family doctor.

A personal health record not only allows you to share information with your care providers but also empowers you to manage your health between visits. For example, a personal health record enables you to:

  • Track and assess your health. Record and track your progress toward your health goals, such as lowering your cholesterol level.
  • Make the most of doctor visits. Be ready with questions for your doctor and information you want to share, such as blood pressure readings since your last visit.
  • Manage your health between visits. Upload and analyze data from home-monitoring devices such as a blood pressure cuff. And remind yourself of your doctor's instructions from your last appointment.
  • Get organized. Track appointments, vaccinations, and preventive or screening services, such as mammograms.

Source:  Mayo Clinic Website - Read Full Article >>

Keeping a Symptom Diary

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting a diary is to keep it simple. If it takes only a few minutes to fill out, you're more likely to stick to it when you're feeling your worst (which can be the most important time to do it.) Also, while several forms are available, you should tailor the records to your own situation and keep the information relevant to you.

Disclaimer:  The information contained within this site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. The information presented is based on my own personal experience with my own unique set of medical conditions. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. What works for me could be catastrophic for you. Consult your medical team for treatment options suitable for you.
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