Managing Your Medical Information Is Essential
"Millions of people a year will consult with a physician who does not have full access to their medical history. The result can be catastrophic - it has been estimated that as many as 16 percent of medical errors are the result of absent case files."
Information is fundamental to ensuring the best possible medical care yet it is incredibly common for there to be gaps in a patient's case history that could drastically undermine the success of their treatment.
At Medix we know only too well how important full medical case history is to ensuring that patients have a positive outcome to their treatment.
The first thing we do when registering new clients is to go about the process of collating their medical history, test results and other documentation in order to determine how best to move forward. That is why it is vitally important that you take responsibility for ensuring your medical history is complete and readily available - ideally by keeping a personal case file.
Although electronic file management has increased in recent years, the various parts of your medical history will be held individually by each healthcare provider that you have visited throughout your life. In the most recent major study into patients' medical files, conducted by the University of Colorado in 2005, researchers found that around one-in-seven patients' files was incomplete. This means that every year millions of people will consult with a physician who does not have full access to their medical history. The result can be catastrophic - it has been estimated that as many as 16 percent of medical errors are the result of absent case files.
With serious medical conditions, the problems are likely to be even more acute. The more medical problems a person has suffered, the more likely that their information will be fractured – distributed among various doctors, specialists and hospitals.
To make matters worse, a person who has suffered a critical illness is more likely to need comprehensive medical records.
At Medix our clients are often suffering from medical conditions that require immediate treatment. We don't have the luxury of time and we must set them on the correct course of treatment without delay. With a clear and complete picture of the individual's clinical background, our expert medical colleagues are able to provide the very best care possible, thereby increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Incomplete medical history and missing test results require us to send clients to be retested, creating a delay in treatment.
There are many things you can do to ensure that when you need medical care your treating physician has all the information he needs to hand:
Begin by making a note of the various doctors, hospitals and other medical providers you have visited and the approximate dates on which you were treated.
Make contact and request your files. It is very rare for this request to be refused but note that there is no legal requirement for a physician to do so.
Once you've gathered all the information make sure you keep it somewhere safe. If you keep a paper file ensure it is under lock and key.
Be sure to tell someone you trust where they can find the file in an emergency.
It is a good idea to keep an electronic version of your files that you can carry with you if travelling or away from home for some time. Make sure it is password protected.
What your file should contain:
Name, date of birth and next-of-kin contact information
Medical records, including physicals and immunisations
Test results with dates the tests were conducted
Details of family medical history
Information about any allergies you may suffer from