Whether you have a chronic disease like diabetes or you're a relatively healthy person, it's a great idea to have a current health summary on your computer or in your files. This summary is a useful document to take to doctor visits, and also to the Emergency Room. It's also helpful to bring along when traveling.
Why have a health summary?
When you're going to see a new medical provider, traveling away from home, going to see a specialist, or relocating to a new hometown, having a concise but detailed summary of your health history is a very powerful tool for taking charge of your healthcare and making sure that your providers have the information they need in order to treat you appropriately.
Here are my recommendations for a basic health summary/history:
Your health summary should contain your name, date of birth, contact information (including mailing address, phone numbers, email, etc), as well as contact information for next of kin.
This document should also include the names and contact information for all of your medical providers.
Diagnoses and medical history:
Very important aspects of this document also include all of your medical diagnoses, surgical history, and other significant medical history.
Don't forget to include your family history, including parents, siblings, grandparents and other extended family members with significant medical histories.
Other information that can be helpful for your providers includes your vaccination history and other data that may be of use in various situations.
Why Not Provide Your Own History?
Creating your own personalized medical history is a way to be an empowered patient who takes his or her health---and healthcare---seriously.
This personal history is a living document that can be added to and edited over time, and you can even choose to save various versions over the years in order to track your own medical and health changes over time.
Creating such a document---and sharing it with your providers---is a powerful and proactive way to take charge of your own healthcare!