How to Manage Your Personal Health

For normal healthy people, losing one’s medical records may not be a big deal. But for people who are in the midst of a series or stages of treatment that needed to be managed, it can be tremendously dangerous.

Keep Track of Personal Medical Records and Information

As an independent adult, taking control over your own medical records is the responsible thing to do. It is wise to keep a Medical Emergency Information sheet in the wallet that includes the following:

    Name

    Address

    Phone Number

    Date of Birth

    Emergency contact names and numbers

    Medical power authorization

    A list of allergies and reactions, all diagnosed medical conditions, all doctors and their phone numbers, all medication and the prescribing doctor

    Medical encounters

This will ensure that in case of a medical emergency, necessary information is provided to the medical personnel.

Manage Care with a Personal Health Record (PHR)

With almost everything digitized, health management has never been easier. A basic paper medical record is good. But the drawback with paper records is, people rarely have them when they need them. But with an electronic PHR system all record will be accessible anytime and anywhere through a web-enabled device such as a computer, a phone or a tablet.

Electronic health/medical records, which are owned and operated by doctor’s’ offices, hospitals or health insurance plans is not the same as PHR. And although there are a growing number of doctors’ offices using these systems, some may limit access.

What Information Goes into a PHR?

Start with the Basics

· Primary care doctor’s name and phone number

· Allergies, including drug allergies

· Medications, including dosages

· Chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure

· Major surgeries, with dates

· Living will or advance directives

· Family history

· Immunization history

Information about tests to remedy or prevent disease can also be added, such as:

· Results of screening tests

· Cholesterol level and blood pressure

· Exercise and dietary habits

· Health goals, such as stopping smoking or losing weight

Benefits of PHR

It can be a lifesaver, literally. Vital information such as a previously treated disease, previous surgeries or hospitalizations, medications, drug allergies, and family and doctor’s contact information can quickly be provided. PHR not only allows you to share information with care providers but also empowers you to manage health between visits. For example, a personal health record enables people to:

    Track and assess health. Record and track progress toward health goals, such as lowering cholesterol level.

    Make the most of doctor visits. Be ready with questions for the doctor and information to be shared, such as blood pressure readings since last visit.

    Manage health between visits. Upload and analyse data from home-monitoring devices such as a blood pressure cuff. And be reminded of the doctor’s instructions from the last appointment.

    Get organized. Track appointments, vaccinations, and preventive or screening services, such as mammograms.

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Nwasom

Nwasom is a pharmacy graduate and a pharmacist currently practicing in the United Kingdom. I have  great experience communicating with patient and their family as gained through working as a pharmacist in both the hospital and community pharmacy sector. I love writing so it was a natural thing to try and pass medical and health information on through writing.