There is nothing more important than your health and the health of your family. However, it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything—appointments, copays, medications, deductibles, blood types, etc.; the list goes on.
That’s why organizing your household’s health is so vital. To play a more active role in managing your family’s well-being, you should keep both an up-to-date medical history and appointment schedule. Use these tips to help keep your health information organized.
While your doctors have your health history, you should also keep track of your personal medical records and sensitive information somewhere that is easily accessible. You can either create a binder to keep track of this information or log it digitally on your computer. Your health insurance plan or healthcare provider may even have an app that will let you keep some of this information organized on your smartphone.
Important medical information to keep in your records include but are not limited to:
- Family history of illness
- Blood types, immunization records, and allergies
- Hearing, vision, and dental exam results
- Dates and results of lab tests
- A list of chronic health problems, including symptoms and treatments
- Past and present medications
- Mental health treatment history
- History of childbirth
Additional records to keep handy
This is also a good place to keep a history of any medical bills and payments, along with insurance information like your policy number and any paperwork you receive. Keep track of any progress you’ve made toward meeting your deductible, as well as any legal documents, such as a living will or power of attorney.
If any of the records below are more than a year old, you can pack them away.
- Doctors’ names, contact info, and role in your care
- Doctors’ visit summaries and notes
- Hospital discharge summaries
- Pharmacy printouts from prescribed medications
- Emergency contact info for your family
How often you need to visit medical professionals will largely depend on your age and overall health. However, you can follow these general guidelines to schedule appointments:
- Physical exams: Every two to three years if you’re under 50 and in good health; at least once a year if you’re over 50.
- Dental exams and cleanings: Every six months.
- Eye exams: Every two years if you’re under 40 with vision problems, and every two to four years if you’re over 40.
You may need to schedule appointments with specialists throughout the year depending on existing or emerging conditions. These can include appointments with OB-GYNs, ophthalmologists, allergists, dermatologists, psychologists, radiologists, and gastroenterologists.
Keeping track of appointments
First, make sure to write down the day and time of your appointment in a calendar that you look at regularly. You can create or buy a medical organizer book to help keep track of your appointments and use it to take any notes about what to prepare ahead of time and what documents to bring along. If you need a more visible reminder, add a dry-erase board to a busy part of your home, such as your kitchen or office.
Your doctor may provide appointment reminders, which can be helpful to keep you on track. Some doctor’s offices will have a staff member call you a day or two ahead of the appointment, while others will allow you to register on a website for email or text reminders. Your health provider may even offer an app that will remind you of upcoming appointments.
Remember to take notes
Before your appointment, write down any questions you want to address with your doctor. By prioritizing questions, you can make the most of your time with a medical professional. It can also be helpful to take notes during your doctor’s appointments, as it can be hard to remember everything you discussed. These notes can also help you prepare for future visits.
It is important to invest time into organizing your health for yourself and your household. By keeping your medical records and appointments organized, you can help make sure everyone in your home stays happy and healthy.