Have you ever left a medical appointment with advice from your doctor, only to forget exactly what they said a few days later? Having a medical binder can help you avoid forgetting important information like this. When kept updated, it can also help keep you safe during an emergency and provide some organization during important life events, such as pregnancy or big moves.
What is a Medical Binder?
A medical binder lists all of your health information and can house important medical documents. During an emergency, it can act as the single source of truth for those trying to care for you. This is especially important if you’re unable to communicate for any reason.
However, a medical binder doesn’t need to — and shouldn’t — only be used in times of emergency. It can come in handy for organizational purposes as well. If you keep it up-to-date, you could end up helping yourself and your healthcare providers a great deal.
If you visit multiple different providers or take numerous medications, you should use a medical binder to keep the information straight. This can help your providers keep track of overlapping prescriptions, and avoid the dangerous effects that multiple prescriptions can cause. Keeping a medical binder for as long as you are able is also useful for your loved ones.
What to Include in Your Medical Binder?
You can include any health information you feel is necessary in your medical binder, including insurance details, written advice or research from providers, and specific health trackers. You could also include:
- Basic health information like allergies or your blood type
- Medicine chart
- Appointment history
- Important contact information
Basic Health Information Sheet
A basic health information sheet should have the standard information that you would usually need to receive medical treatment. In case of emergency, a healthcare clinic, hospital, or emergency responders would benefit from information such as:
- Your full name
- Emergency contact information
- Date of birth
- Blood type
- Immunization records
This information can help healthcare professionals give you the best possible care as quickly as possible. You may also want to make a copy of this form in a smaller size and laminate it to keep in your purse at all times.
According to WebMD, more than 50% of Americans take an average of four prescription pills. However, taking multiple medications can be dangerous. Some types of medication overlap may even have deadly consequences. Keeping track of exactly what medications you take is especially important when you’re pregnant, as some medications may affect the development of your baby.
Likewise, documenting your medications can also help you and your doctor figure out which ones have worked in the past, and which haven’t. If you’ve switched doctors and are in a prescription experimentation phase, supplying your own records can help you avoid repeating medications.
Blood Pressure Log
Many are unaware that they have hypertension (or high blood pressure), but it has damaging—and even deadly—effects over time. According to the CDC, 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies experiences high blood pressure.
One way to avoid problems from high blood pressure is to keep track. Purchase a home blood pressure monitor to record your own blood pressure. Remember, home monitoring isn’t an adequate substitute for doctor’s visits, but it can still be helpful for healthcare professionals to gauge the effectiveness of treatments.
Being aware of your medical conditions and treatments before a big life transition — like moving homes, having a child, or planning for retirement — can help alleviate stress and worry. These changes may influence your healthcare providers or the amount of healthcare you receive. Tracking doctors visits for current conditions and logging your present healthcare needs in your medical binder can keep you on top of your health — no matter what phase of life you’re in.
Abby Christensen is a digital marketer who helps RetireGuide create helpful pieces of content worth sharing. When she’s not soaking up the latest digital marketing news, you can find her reading, playing with her pooch, or organizing.