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Health Records Could Save Your Life

Health Records Could Save Your Life

If you hadn’t noticed, the medical world has changed since our parents were kids. Doctors don’t make house calls. They don’t have a steady clientele they’ve treated and whose kids they’ve treated. No, in today’s busy society doctors have been pushed into the quantity-over-quality system. Doctors have hundreds upon hundreds of patients they see, which has reduced the average doctor visit down to about seven minutes. You’re lucky if your doctor remembers your name let alone what vaccination you’re overdue for or what health diagnosis you have. Add to the chaos of modern life the fact that our primary care physician is usually just the staring point for the dozens of other specialists we’ll see in our lifetime, and it’s easy to see how information can get lost or never transmitted.

You have the power to prevent these glitches, and it’s as simple as making sure you have copies of all your medical records. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor(s) for them: It’s information all about you, so of course you have the right to have them. If your doctor does give you grief about turning over copies of your records, consider this a red flag that this might not be the best doctor, and you should start looking for a new one.

In addition to obtaining and keeping copies of your health records’ (and while you're at it, collect copies of your partner’s and/or children’s records too), carry an emergency health information card in your wallet or purse. This card should list all medications you take, your allergies and medical conditions.

So, you’ve collected copies of all your family’s health records: Great job! Now how do you organize it and where do you store it? Share your tips on the process! [ABC News]

Posted: 8/26/08