Your Very Own, Personal Health File

Do you have a personal health file?  If not, you need to begin one.  No matter if you’re young or older, keeping a personal health file is one smart move. How do you go about creating one?  You may either choose an app – go online and Google “personal health file” – or create a simple paper file folder that holds all of your current and not-so-current test results.  If you’re like me, over 25 and you forget to charge your Iphone, a plain paper file folder works well.

With that in mind, let’s continue to keep it simple.  First, pick up a plain file folder.  Any office supply store, Walmart or Target has them.  Buy several – just in case.  Check to be sure the folders come with labels.  Label it ” Your Name – Personal Health File.”   This is the difficult part.  Put it in your desk drawer, in your kitchen drawer or anywhere you can remember where you put it!  Seriously, keep it accessible.

Begin to fill your personal health file folder every time you have any sort of medical test (blood work, x-rays, CT scan,) or procedure (biopsy) performed.  When your gastroenterologist takes pictures of your good looking colon and asks if you want them, say “yes!”  Once the drugs wear off and you feel human again, file the pics with the attached report in your folder.  But, don’t expect your doctor, nurse, x-ray tech, or the receptionist to ask you if you’d like a copy of any other test results.  It could happen and that would be lovely.  In the event that it doesn’t, it’s really up to you to be your own advocate.  Ask before you leave the office.  “May I have a copy of —-?  I’ll be happy to wait a few minutes for it.”  It may take those few extra minutes or more, but this is truly time well spent.  Allow for that time within your schedule.  Why?  Because you can bet, in the future, a healthcare professional will want to see the results of a baseline test or an atypical one in order to formulate the most accurate diagnosis they can come up with.  Any data you can supply will be a useful adjunct in the process.

If you want to become an active participant/advocate in your healthcare and save yourself lots of time, energy, money and aggravation, ask for a copy of your medical reports/records before you leave your doctor’s office.  One day in the future you’ll be glad you did.

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