How to keep your medical records digitally

Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure that you have your medical records up to date and in order.

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Previously, it was common for people to see the same doctor throughout their childhood and into adulthood. If you’ve ever moved location you’ll know you usually need to give your new doctor a history of your health so they know exactly how to best treat you. It can sometimes seem like a chore, but it’s important so you receive the best care possible.

As people get older, they also tend to visit more than one doctor or specialist for different health issues, meaning that all these health professionals need to be up-to-date with your history.

If you haven’t seen a health professional in a while, it can become particularly tricky to track down an old doctor or remember a specific drug or medication you were given to treat a particular condition. Furthermore, a lot of facilities stop filing your medical papers after a certain period of time.

According to Prevention Australia, more doctors than ever before are storing patients’ records digitally. While doctors used to rely on medical charts in the past, they now use something known as an electronic medical record (EMR). It’s basically the same thing, except it’s stored on a computer.

Read more: Your private health records aren’t as private as you think

EMRs are typically kept by a specific doctor, meaning that they’ll be able to easily pull the information on a computer screen whenever you go for a visit. On the other hand, electronic health records are similar, but are designed so that your medical information can be easily shared between health professionals and different doctors, hospitals and facilities. It also means that you’re able to access your own information a lot easier.

As with many things, going digital is the easiest way to store your information. It gives you peace of mind that your information is safe, but it could also save your life.

If you were in a serious condition in hospital, a digital record means medical staff and health professionals can easily look up your history and potentially treat you quicker than ever before. The downfall is that we’re in a period of time where EHRs are quite new, meaning that there could still be details of your own medical history missing.

If in doubt, it’s best to have a chat with a regular doctor and make sure that all your information is up to date. If you are doing this or just want to check that everything is in order, it’s best to come prepared.

Where possible, try and make a list of the medication you take and any health conditions you’re aware of. Make note of anything you know you can’t take and even contact your health insurance company if you’re not too sure. They should have a record of treatments they covered.

In addition, it’s a good idea to scan or make digital copies of any hard copies of records you currently have. Taking a copy along for your doctor could also help them fill in any blanks on your record.

Do you store your health records in a particular way? Do your doctors currently use digital methods to store your details, or do they still use old-fashioned hard copies?