When you or a loved one are dealing with a lot of medical issues, or even “just one” complex issue, the paperwork can become overwhelming.
Over the years, Edwards Group has evolved into a comprehensive, interdisciplinary resource for families facing the challenges of aging.
Elder Care Advisor Sandy Eisenmann recently discussed with me what people should consider when it comes to medical records and managing that information. “It really depends on the unique situation of each family, but these are a few of my generic recommendations…”
5 Ways to Organize Medical Records and Increase Your Quality of Care
1. Keep all records until the changes associated with the procedure or diagnosis have been resolved. This is the minimum amount of time that you should keep the records or notes.
2. Keep ALL surgical and pathology reports. The surgical reports can be helpful if more related procedures are needed in the future. Pathology reports are important in case a disease recurs, but they can also be helpful to other family members who may need them as a reference.
3. Create a lists of ALL doctors, their speciality, and/or what they treated you for. It’s helpful to have this all gathered in one place, especially if you or your loved one are seeing multiple specialists.
4. Keep an updated and thorough history/timeline to help you explain the complex condition or to help other doctors more easily understand what has transpired.
5. Keep a current, up-to-date medication list. Many people may not think of this as “medical records,” but it is vital to receiving accurate care. Doctors’ offices don’t communicate with each other as much as you may think, so if you have multiple doctors, it’s important for you to know at all times what medicines you are taking and what the dosages are.
If there are generic or hereditary considerations, then all of these things can be especially important to keep track of so future family members can have better information if they themselves have to be treated for the same condition.
You may also want to consider starting a 3-ring binder to help you organize paperwork and track tests and appointments if the condition is complex or chronic. That way you can have ALL information connected to the condition in one place — doctors notes, test results, EOBs, co-pay receipts, support organizations, etc.
If you or a loved one needs help with the challenges of aging or dealing with chronic illness or disability, we encourage you to give us a call at 217-726-9200. Our Elder Care Advisors will be more than happy to discuss your situation and see if there are ways we can lessen the burden for your family.