Medical record keeping can be frustrating. It is difficult to determine which documents are important, which are not, and how to organize them all so that they are easily accessible. Follow this link to Mayo Clinic for more information regarding what your personal health records are and why they are important. Read on to discover the five most common misconceptions about keeping medical records.
Misconception 1: That negative test results are unimportant.
This is a common mistake made by many patients undergoing the diagnostic process. However, negative test results can be just as important as positive ones because they tell the doctor where not to look for the problem. This is a key step because it can save you time and money by preventing the repetition of any previous negative tests. Keep all test results organized by date and specialty so that you or your doctor can refer back to them if necessary.
Misconception 2: Assuming that paper records are all you need.
Your personal medical records will be much more accessible if they are downloaded to a USB device or uploaded to online storage. This way you never have to worry about forgetting your records at home or losing the only copy of an important operative summary. If you stay up to date with a paperless system, you are far more likely to have the correct documents on hand when you need them. Johns Hopkins medicine has even more tips for keeping good online records.
Misconception 3: That you don’t need to keep an updated medicine list.
If your medical conditions don’t typically result in Emergency Room trips, then you might not have considered keeping an updated medicine and supplement list. This is an important document for anyone taking supplements, over-the-counter drugs, or prescriptions. It is your responsibility as a patient to record the name of the medication, the dosage, and the prescribing doctor’s name, and then to share that information with your other doctors. This is an important step because otherwise, doctors will be unable to tell if a new prescription will interact poorly with any current medication. Always keep this list up to date and organized with your other medical files to keep yourself safe.
Misconception 4: That you don’t need to know more than your doctor’s last name.
Most doctor’s offices will ask you to fill out paperwork on your first visit. That paperwork frequently asks for the names and numbers of your doctors and their practices. A handy list that organizes your doctors by specialty and states their name, office phone number, fax number, and address can greatly speed up the process of filling out paperwork and makes it easier for your doctor’s office to obtain your medical records when necessary.
Misconception 5: Keeping medical billing records with your test, operative, and appointment records make them easy to access.
Most doctor’s offices have entirely separate billing departments that do not need any of your actual medical information. Keep bills, receipts, and insurance claim paperwork in a separate space to making paying bills easier than ever. Organize them chronologically and by doctor’s office to prevent any billing mix-ups. Once you have paid a bill be sure to either staple the receipt to it or to write the confirmation number clearly on the bill itself. This way if you need to refer back to those statements, later on, there will be no confusion about whether or not you have already paid.