How Staying Organized Can Improve Your Health

by Nancy Brook on October 22, 2015


Almost every day of the week I see patients in my clinic who are ready to discuss the next phase of their treatment. Most of them have been diagnosed with cancer and they show up with questions- sometimes a very long list. And that makes perfect sense, right? If you had been diagnosed with an unexpected illness such as cancer, you would be wondering what the next steps in your care would be as well.
Unfortunately, there is often a problem. A problem that causes delays, and actually makes the questions harder to answer.
Many patients show up without their records. In other words, without the very information that is required to make the kinds of decisions and treatment plans they want so badly.
Why does this happen? 
It seems like in our country, healthcare can be very fragmented. Patients may have a local doctor in their hometown. They may have their imaging (xrays, MRI scans, etc) done at a separate facility. They may have a surgeon who is at a teaching hospital miles away. And while the goal is always for the patient to have the best of care, and seek treatment with the most competent specialists, sometimes the patient’s records can get lost somewhere in between.
*The operative note from the last surgery.
*The pathology report which outlines the diagnosis.
*The MRI report which describes the findings.
*The note from a most recent doctors visit.
All of these notes and reports are critical for any kind of decision making or treatment planning to occur.
Here’s what you can do:
It is simple and easy, and will end the frustration painlessly. Take a drive to your local pharmacy or convenience store.
Pick up a 3 ring binder along with some colorful tabs.
Make it pretty if you want. My friend Lynda decorated hers with inspiring quotes, bible verses and a photo of her boy.
Collect each and every report that has been generated since your medical journey began. If you have recently been diagnosed, start now! If you have been at this for a while, slowly collect your records- which can be easily done by calling the doctor’s offices, radiology facilities or medical records departments of your local hospital.
Take your time, put the records neatly in your binder and you are done!Does this sound too simple?
If it does, it is that simple! Not only will you feel more organized, but you will become more empowered. You will have your entire medical history at your finger tips and never find yourself or your physician frustrated at a medical appointment again. And when you show up to ask questions, discuss options or create a treatment plan, you will have everything you need to take action and move forward.

Rash on Upper Left Thigh

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