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Building Personal Records

Posted 9/1/2016

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  Today is another "two-fer" as I will be traveling much of tomorrow and unable to post. Know what exciting news this must be! The second topic for the day is considering the personal files and records that you keep about your medical condition and care.

  Yes, of course, your doctors and hospital have copious files, and you may well have access through Patient Site. Other hospitals call this system by different names, but it is a way to access virtually all your test results, medical notes, etc. from the comfort of home. This certainly makes things easier, but brings some degree of risk if you read something that is frightening and have no immediate way to talk with your doctor or get further information. Anyway, back to the topic: your personal records at home are different and include things that won't be part of the official collection.

  Your own records should also include copies of bills, insurance statements, receipts from parking and co-pays and any other expenses. You may also want to include personal comments or reminders to help you remember names or people whom you meet along the way. This might be something like: "Jean is the person at the front desk in the Radiation Department." You might also want to keep notes about your reactions to treatments or medications. It can be difficult to reconstruct how you felt in the first four days after a new chemo drug, and having written notes can be helpful when you speak with your doctor.

  This is a really helpful article from Cancer Net about organizing your many papers and records. Organizing is key or you will never be able to find, amid the piles, what you need.

3 Steps to Building a Personal Medical Record
· Amy Thompson
A personal medical record is a compilation of all your medical information, including test results,
treatment reports, and notes written by your health care team. While each office and facility keeps a
record of your care, it’s important to have a complete file for your own use, so you can share it with a
new doctor, review at home to better understand your treatment, or manage your health insurance
claims, taxes, and other legal matters. Here is what to include, how to compile it, and the best ways to
organize it and store it for safekeeping.

Step 1. What to include
A complete personal medical record should include the following information:
Your diagnosis, including the specific cancer type and stage
Date you were diagnosed
Copies of diagnostic test results and pathology reports
Complete treatment information, such as chemotherapy drug names and doses, sites and doses of radiation therapy
Start and end dates for all treatments
Results of treatment and any complications or side effects
Information about palliative care, including medications for pain management, nausea, or other side effects
A schedule for follow-up care
Contact information for the doctors and treatment centers involved in your diagnosis and treatment, as well as others who
have cared for you in the past, such as your family doctor
Dates and details of other major illnesses, chronic health conditions, and hospitalizations
Family medical history
Details of past physical exams, including cancer screening tests and immunizations

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