How To Medical records should be organized.

If you change doctors, go to an emergency department, get sick while traveling or move to another place, it's important to keep copies of your medical records.It is possible to save time and get better medical care by having hard and digital copies of your medical records organized.Cardiac patients who keep personal health records enjoy better health outcomes because their caregivers can better see their health history.This could be the case for people with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Step 1: Inquire about access to your medical files.

If you want to organize your medical record, the first thing you need to do is to get physical copies of your treatments and diagnoses from your caregivers.Federal law requires doctors and medical facilities to allow access to your medical records.When you want to access your medical files, be patient and polite.Tell them you want to establish your own records.Fear of malpractice litigation might make some doctors and medical facilities hesitant to let you in.Some time is needed to organize your medical information because it may not all be in a single file.If that is the case, schedule an appointment.Keep in mind that a personal medical record combines all the medical information collected by each facility that you've been to into a single file that's easy to access.Federal law gives you the right to access most of your patient health information.Some types of information are not required.You don't have a right to access the notes taken by a mental health professional during a counseling session or the documents compiled for use in a civil or criminal proceeding.

Step 2: All the documents are in your medical files.

It's time to make copies of your medical information once you've told the person you want to care for you.All test results, progress diagnoses, treatment reports, notes, insurance statements and referrals from each medical facility you've visited should be included in your personal medical record.Don't expect a person to copy your file for you.The support staff is likely to do the copying.Although you own your medical information, you don't own the actual paper, files and x-rays that your info is on, so do not expect to walk out with the originals.You can only get copies from the originals.You have the right to be charged a copying fee by your medical facility, so ask how much it will cost.They can charge per page or a flat fee.Every facility that you request records from will require you to sign a release form.

Step 3: Put your hard copies in a binder.

To separate your original medical files, make a pile for each medical provider.Order the records from your earliest visit to your most recent visit, in chronological order.It will be easy to find information with this type of organization.Place the holes in your medical records along the left margin in a sturdy three-ring binder or wire-bound notebook with a divider for each family member.Different colored index dividers can be used to organize your medical records.Multiple doctors should be organized within the binder.If you or your caregivers are looking through the binder frequently, consider reinforcing the punch holes of your copied documents.If you keep documents related to your tax returns, keep them for at least seven years.

Step 4: A table of contents can be created.

To type up a table of contents for your medical records, use a word processing program on your computer.It will be easier for busy healthcare professionals to navigate the table of content page if it outlines the color-coded providers that you've seen and be listed chronologically and alphabetically.The thicker the paper, the more resistant the table of contents will be.Don't use a fancy or artistic style for the content page, it's not a scrapbook you're making.If you need assistance in creating a printed table of contents, visit the website of the company that manufactured your index dividers.You can use the blank table of contents that may have been included with the index dividers.

Step 5: You should keep your notebook secure.

Once you have all the hard copies of your medical records organized in a sturdy three-ring binder or wire-bound notebook, store it on a stable bookshelf or a lockable filing cabinet at home, away from the grasp of children and pets.Having your medical records at home allows you to read and understand them at your leisure, which can help you feel more in control of your health and better choose your therapies.Your binder of hard copies should be kept in a fireproof home safe or box.If you want to have your hard copies handy and near to where you work, then focus on securing the digital copies instead.

Step 6: Put your medical records in your computer.

If you have hard copies of your health record, you should convert them to digital/electronic copies.Having a digital copy of your medical records will protect you in the event that your paper copies are damaged or lost, which is of particular concern for people who live in areas that have high risk of flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.Most printers have the ability to print, so no other equipment is required.Once you have scanned the hard copies into your computer, you can create a "Medical Records" folder for each medical provider.Drop the files into the appropriate folders.You can input the data from your hard copies by hand, but that takes a lot more time than scanning them.

Step 7: Purchase software for personal medical records.

If you're familiar with word processing software, that's great, but you should know that there is also software designed to organize your personal medical records.The special software will do most of the organizing for you, but you will still have to take the physical documents.The cost of new software can range from $25 to $75, and may include online technical support as well.You can search online for the best software for your budget.Free trials may be offered by some companies.Regardless of how your files are organized on your computer, they should be backed up onto a physical CD, external hard drive or portable flash drive.

Step 8: You can check for online health records.

You can access online records at some healthcare providers.They place your medical records online with your permission and on a secured database so you can easily access them from your computer or phone.If that's the case with your caregivers, that could save you a lot of time.You might need a special app or program to access and navigate your online health records.Ask your primary caregivers for recommendations.If you're worried about the security of your personal information online, you can request that your medical facility not keep your files online.

Step 9: You can keep your health records online.

Once you've scanned the documents into your computer, you can store your personal health records on a secure third-party Internet site.You may be able to use your health insurance plan for free.Alternatively, a number of internet-based companies offer digital storage space for your personal medical records online, as well as use of their eHealth tools, either for free or a fee.Personal health records stored online can be accessed by your family members and caregivers with your permission, which eliminates the need to carry your hard copies around.If you use online tools, make sure they are password protected.The log-in information and passwords of any Internet sites that store your health records should be recorded.