When medical issues arise, it is customary to seek the services of a qualified physician or practitioner. When you do, you expect that practitioner to bring knowledge, expertise and experience to bear in assisting you with the issue. But when you do seek out such services, what are you expected to bring to the table? How can you best help your doctor help you? One answer is by providing your doctor with information - information that is relevant, legible and organized. Too much may well hide something important. Too little or missing information may have catastrophic consequences as may illegible or poorly organized information. Most people rely on their memory when asked to fill out the myriad of questionnaires and answer the questions posed when visiting a physician. Do you? Is your memory that reliable? Is there room on the form for every item? What if you forget to mention or indicate some family history item or a medication you are taking? What if what you forgot proved to be a particularly important piece of information? You can help your doctor immensely by having well organized information about relevant things related to your health.
Keep the data current and keep it formally. Keep it all the time, not just in times when you may need it. Deciding that you are going to keep this type of information raises some questions: What kind of information should you keep? What should you do with it? Why should you do it? And how should you do it? Well, here are some ideas for you to consider.
What Should You Keep Track Of?
There are several types of information you should keep a record of. They are information about:
Data That Doesn't Change
The first 4 types are static in nature – that is, the data does not change once captured and does not require much time or effort to keep it current.
Data That Doesn't Change Continued
What Should You Do With All This Information And Why Should You Keep Track Of It All?
First and foremost, you can use some of the information to help you better manage your health on your own – your doctor does not always have to be involved. There is a saying that suggests one can better manage something if one can measure it. Review the data and look for trends, patterns and correlations. When you see a trend that you do not like, do something about it – it may be a warning. Change your diet, exercise pattern or whatever. Quite often, this is enough to bring the measure back to where it should be. Bring the charts when visiting your doctors so you can discuss the implications of a specific measure or a trend in a measure, as there may be a need for medication or other options help bring the measure back into line.
Bring all of the information with you to every appointment that you have with a medical practitioner. When asked about medication or supplements you are taking, for information about past conditions or family history, or for past procedures and surgery, hand the relevant report over, or use them to help you fill in any required forms. Bring a copy of all of this data whenever you are traveling. Well organized medical records like these could be life-saving should you find yourself in a foreign hospital or having to see a physician as the result of an accident or illness while away from home. It will also help should the time come when you have to deal with insurance companies.
How Should You Do It?
Use a computer application if possible because you will find that there is a lot of data to track, even if you are in good health. You can use paper, note pads and graphing paper, but a computer system makes it much easier. One which is tailored to this type of information is called ‘the Recordskeeper’. It can store all the information you will ever need. It is relatively easy to use and will provide you with all the reports and charts you need. You can use the same program for a lot of other things also, like your home inventory and keeping any other type of personal information. So! Can you help your doctor? Yes, you can, and you should. Should you organize information about your health? Yes, you can, and you should. Doing so may just well be the most important thing you have done. Your health is important – there is not much else without it. Don’t wait until it is too late. Don’t stop once you start.
Bob Robinson is the founder and principal of RecordsKeeper Software. His passion is to provide ideas and software that helps people get control of their lives, to function better and to improve the ability to manage their affairs by having well organized information about everything that is of importance to them. Contact bob mailto:[email protected] or visit his web-site at therecordskeeper.com .
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