It used to be that families lived in one place and visited the same doctors for many years. Those doctors often knew the medical histories of two or more generations of family members. Now everything has changed — and you need to deal with the changes.
People are increasingly mobile, with young people frequently moving away from home to seek education and employment opportunities in other locations. Medicine has changed, too. The old style family doctor has almost disappeared. Walk-in clinics and group medical practices have become common — many providing good but also often impersonal medicine.
Why Keep Your Own Records?
Emergency room doctors will tell you that far too many patients arrive at hospitals without any useful information about their current and past medical problems and conditions. Most of these patients, even if they are able to talk with the admitting staff, are unable to provide information that is useful to the hospital doctors, or to say where that information can be found.
The result is a potentially dangerous situation — no doctor wants to give such a patient medication or tests that may prove dangerous. This can result in basic and expensive tests being performed just to determine what is safe, and treatment for the problem that took you to the hospital can be delayed.
Each time you visit a new doctor, unless that doctor shares a practise with someone you have seen before, you are going to be asked about your medical history. This imposes two risks:
- You may not remember important details while trying to give the doctor a full history.
- You will be spending a lot of time in the visit and that may create additional billing time.
If you have your own medical records readily available, you allow doctors to provide care efficiently, dealing with the problem at hand. In an emergency situation, the benefits are obvious.
Keeping an up-to-date set of your own medical records is an excellent way for you to be active in your own health care and to be sure that you receive safe, quick and less costly treatment in both emergency and routine medical situations.
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