How to Organize Medical Information, Step-By-Step. What’s the key to keeping your family’s medical information organized, accessible, and easy to locate?
The answer is pretty simple. You just need a system that works.
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, we had TONS of information and appointments being tossed at us from every direction. We had to devise a system that would keep everything straight.
After using that system for a while, I realized that with some tweaks, this would be PERFECT for keeping medical information organized at my house too.
So, I made some quick changes and gave it a whirl… and it worked even better than I had hoped. Binders are the key!
They are easy to structure, you can bring them anywhere, and they allow you to create cheap and functional systems that actually work.
How to Organize Medical Information
Isn’t that what we all we want? Systems that actually work, and don’t break the bank? And you can set up the whole thing in less than 60 minutes! Win/Win/Win! So, let’s get started!
Step #1: Get your Supplies
- 3” or 4” Binder (depending on how many people are in your family)
- 1 Plastic Divider (for each person in the family)
- 2 Packs of Paper Dividers
- 1 Sheet Protector
- Hole Puncher
- Pencil Case
(Hint) If you have a child or a spouse with more extensive medical conditions, you may want to give them their own binder.
Some examples of this might be children with special needs, spouses with a chronic illness, etc.
It just makes it easier to have all of their information organized and accessible in one place, rather than attempting to squeeze it in with everyone else’s.
Step #2: Start with your Main Sections
Is Highly Recommended! This a great place to keep pens, highlighters, and pencils, so you always have something to write with. Also, you can throw in doctors’ business cards, appointment cards, or anything else you may need to sort out later.
I like to keep a calendar in front of the binder. This way I can keep track of future appointments and add them to my planner when I get home.
I can also keep track of things like significant dates, the start of symptoms, or a series of vaccinations. So, for example, this could help make sure your child received the Hep B series within the specified timeframes…
Calendars are a great way to recall past appointments, so if there are repeat symptoms or illnesses, it helps to have that information available.
If, for instance, Emily has been to Urgent Care two times in the past three months with a urinary tract infection… now you also have dates when trying to establish if this is a bigger issue that should be looked at further.
General Information Page
- Each family member’s date of birth
- Each family member’s social security number (optional)
- Insurance information
- Copy of medical cards
- Home address (very helpful if you’ve just moved!)
- In case of emergency information
- Significant family history (things like high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, high
blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease)Anything that you may need to know when attending appointments.
Step #3: Decide what Sections will Work Best
Create a Section for Each Family Member
Each parent and each child should have a plastic divider marked with their name (to identify their individual section).
Determine Additional Sections
Consider and add additional sections that might be appropriate for each person. The ones we use are…
Current/Past History Information
Where does each person stand right now? Are there any conditions that need to be watched, tracked, or continuously monitored?
Or, is there is a past history that needs to be discussed? Consider making a list of dates, tests, and procedures so you can recall them when you need too.
Would include things like physical forms, sports clearances, gym notes, vaccine records.
For things like the dermatologist, physical therapy, or any special testing (MRI’s, mammograms, CT scans, etc.)
Special Instructions and/or test information. Examples could include… fasting directions for upcoming labs, surgery information, discharge papers from the E.R., medicine information sheets.
Dental and Orthodontist check-ups, cavities, follow-ups, instructions, etc.
Having a section where you can jot down notes, questions, or ideas that pop into your head is super helpful. It gives you a place to keep everything together, so you don’t forget anything on the day of the appointment.
And you can add questions and information as it comes up.
What we learned over the summer is that kids eventually become teenagers who will be driving themselves and learning more responsibility.
This is a great training tool so they can begin to attend these appointments on their own but still have all the information they need.
Believe it or not, the first few times you go to the doctors by yourself, it’s not so easy to fill out all of that paperwork (without your mom)!
Last but not least, we took it one step further.
How many hours have you wasted searching through files trying to find proof that you paid a medical bill? If you’re anything like me, probably way too many hours.
Step #4: Organizing Medical Bills
- Keep a binder for each year
- Section it out by month
- File bills in the binder once they’ve been paid according to the date you went to
- Staple the receipt to the paid bill. When you receive a bill you think you paid, it will take you seconds to check.
- Grab the binder
- Search the section dedicated to the date of the appointment
- You’ll have everything you need to prove you paid the bill (or the new knowledge that you did not pay the bill!)
This will make life SO much easier…you’re welcome! Medical information is something our family struggled with FOREVER!
But once we devised a system that actually worked, things got a whole lot easier for us.
Now I spend minutes adding this info to the binder and I can ALWAYS find what I am looking for. That’s a HUGE change from where we started! Taking time to organize pays off big time!
About The Author: Jennifer Lane blogs at cancerbomb.com. She has on the cancer journey with her father, and it really changed her life forever. She makes it a mission to help others and family members of those who have been hit with cancer. Make sure to check out her incredible site.