Sunday, February 24, 2008

Medical Records Bobblehead Style

Nope, nothing in there...

Bobblehead keeps everything although it is always easy. It helps to be organized. The most important thing I keep is a copy of all of my test results. Every lab that I run results in my going to the local hospital and grabbing a copy of the test results. I keep the most recent results in a three-ring binder. I also make photocopies of important tests so that I can easily give copies to new doctors. So, my recent evaluation at the Cleveland Clinic was in hand when I went to the University of New Mexico last week. My new neurologist had a copy in her hand for her to keep. Likewise, when she started to ask about blood work, I had those ready as well. I keep my tests in order based upon the type of test (blood, physical exam, radiology) and then by descending date (most recent first). This way it is easy to find what I am looking for. I also start, highlight, write, circle, underline, etc. all of the test to point out important data. Many doctors are time crunched and anything I can do to bring their eyes to important parts of the test will be completed early. I also point out past results on recent tests. For example, after a case of necrosis from IV Compazine my liver panel went nuts. I was taken off of most medications until the levels went back down. On the test results I made clear notes on what was going on. So, where my liver panel shot up I wrote that I had Compazine 5 days earlier. Then as my panel peaked and started to return to normal I also jotted down what the numbers were on the prior test. This way any doctor could view a single test and yet still get a sense on how my numbers changed over time. If I fax tests in to a new doctor or hospital, I write my patient ID Number on the bottom of each page. Again, in case the papers are dropped, the chance that these results will still end up in the correct file are higher. I also scan each document and store them as PDF files. These files are stored both on my home computer and also password protected on my Internet file space. Again the idea that I can get the information I need to doctors no matter where I am. In addition to test results I also have copies of each of my surgery reports. Most surgeons hate patients having copies of these reports. There is a fear you may use them against the surgeons or hospital in a law suit (which is always the case). However, you have a clear legal “right” to those files. They are yours. Personally, I found them to be fascinating reading, especially my Duodenal Switch report. However, because of my altered anatomy, I keep a copy in case there is a need to present the information to a new doctor that might need to diagnose or operate on me. Trends in data are often more important than the actual data. My liver panel peaked and then started to return to normal. I had a sheet comparing all the results over time. Likewise, tracking my Blood Pressure (Bobblehead uses Blood Pressure Tracker), Hemoglobin, Urine Protein, etc., over time is a great tool for doctors. My main tool is a cheap paper diary and a spreadsheet program if the data is graphable. K.I.S.S. The bottom line is you cannot nor should not rely on the medical establishment to properly and promptly move your files around for you in a time of need. It takes a little planning but the tools you need to arm your medical staff with accurate and up-to-the minute data is cheap and easy to do. Get started.

[posted by Bobblehead]