While most moms with young children spend endless hours driving their kids to dance classes, skiing lessons, hockey games and other extra curricular activities, Mrs.Spencer spends most of her time driving her 12 year old daughter, Amanda to doctors appointments. Amanda has Downs syndrome. She has quite a few health issues, and sees 4 specialists in addition to her family physician. Sometimes Amanda has two or three doctors appointments in the same week. Mrs.Spencer got frustrated all the time because there seemed to be little or no communication between Amanda's health care providers. Every appointment would start off with recaps of changes in Amanda's treatment plans made by other physicians. Mrs. Spencer got tired of repeating and correcting information at the doctors offices. That's when she contacted me and I suggested she maintain a binder for organizing all of Amanda's test results, procedures and prescriptions.
Unfortunately, here in Ontario, we do not have a universal platform for health care providers to share patient information. So, in situations like Mrs.Spencer's, you are left with no better alternative than to maintain your own health records.
There are a number of reasons why you should maintain a Personal Health Portfolio (PHP). A PHP is a powerful tool that gives you "on demand" access to your health information. Keeping track of all the different laboratory tests, investigative procedures, and medication changes can be challenging. But when you gather and organize all your health information in a binder, it becomes easier for you to answer your doctor's questions. Keeping a record of all the medical procedures you have undergone can help you avoid duplicate procedures or tests, and reduce the risk of medical errors. In an emergency, timely access to medical records could save your life.
Some of the things you might want to include in your PHP are:
- Personal information like blood type, allergies etc.
- Contact details of past and present health care providers
- Past and current lists of medications
- Personal and family medical history
- Lab test results, investigative procedures etc.
If you are interested in compiling a PHP for yourself or a loved one, and need more information, help or guidance, we at in4MED, can make it easier for you. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.