[DIsclaimer: I'm neither a doctor or a lawyer. Nor do I play one on TV! Nothing here should be construed as legal, medical, or investment advice. For that, you should seek out the appropriate certified credentialed and licensed professional. Advice given here is in the nature of entertainment and should be relied on. In the event of an emergency, hag up and dial 911.]
Ahh, as many of the readers know, I am now a full time “patient advocate”. Courtesy of the crappy economy, age discrimination, and the luxury of several lucrative “retirements”! But this isn’t about me. I’ve come to a realization as we parade from doctor to doctor and from test to test.
The medical profession is disorganized from a patient perspective.
Between the gooferment rules, the insurance companies, and drug stores, it’s a miracle that anyone survives.
Having gotten my medical degree from Doctor Phil, akin to my law degree from Judge Judy, with advanced training at Doctor House’s school of charm, the show that highlights the Bronx’s saint barnabas’ Emergency Department (Guess NBC has made the nomenclature “ER” to baggage laden) and Mystery Diagnosis. (My application to watch Doctor G Medical Examiner is pending. THat maybe a skill I don’t need in my “P(i)A” role.
Having established my bona fides, I wish to point out that every patient needs to keep records. In the case of children, parents need to do it for them. In the case of seniors, some one better do it for them. (I don’t see how old folks who aren’t sharp survive in today’s medical environment.) And, in the case of everyone else, you best have an organized approach to “record keeping” for your own sanity.
Now, I’d suggest that you FORGET Google Health, any other technology solution, and (Heaven Help Us) any gooferment record keeping solution.
(The biggest wet my pants laffer was the recent “health care summit” where President Obama met with a bunch of executives and came out saying was how electronic records will save grazillions. Since he said it with a straight face, I guess he believed it. It works so well in the VA! Guess MSNBC will be reporting it, GE will be selling it, and the gooferment will be bailing it out. Argh!)
You need a bound BOOK. In it you keep a contemporaneous holographic chronological record of everything.
(Regularly-maintained business records are admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule. And, you’re seeking to create a combination of trustworthiness and necessity. Have to hear from Judge Judy, if she’d find that admissible in her court. Wonder how you contact her for a ruling? And, yes, when you want to sue some particular sob, you’ll have a starting point. Waste of time to sue unless they kill a youngster, but that’s another post!)
The bound book should be a chronology of your trek thru the medical care system. (System implies a degree of design; it’s a misnomer.)
At every instance, you should use an appropriate word processor to capture your CHRONOLOGY in an easily usable form.
(I use a table format with: day, date, time, doc, note, follow up, and eot. EOT is jargon for “end of task”. You can check off that column when you’ve completed that entry. Makes it easy to scan what’s left to be done.)
You should, using that same word processor, create a doctor ROSTER where you capture the name, address, phone, fax, and pager number for every doctor, lab, or pharmacy you use. When you change a player on your team, after you make a note in your BOOK, you need to update the roster and even create a “your fired” and a “your hired” letter. (Nice to let these people know that they are not God and you’re the Devil Incarnate.)
You should, using that same word processor, create a DRUG SUMMARIZATION. On that you want to capture, who RXed what and why. (Why is VERY important when another esteemed member of the medical community asks you why you are taking something and who prescribed it.) I suggest a table: RX#, Drug (Trade and Chemical) Name, Dose, When Started, When Stopped, Who RXed it, and Why. You should keep a perpetual summarization and recent summarization. Entries can roll oft the recent summarization after being stopped a quarter. Everything is kept on the perpetual record. (I like the ambulance chaser commercials. You know: “Have you or any member of your family ever been hurt by taking AWHATYOUCALLIT? Call 1800shyster for a free consultation.” That’s why you have a perpetual summarization. Maybe a database.)
(Interesting aside. It really easy to get “instructions” from individuals. Especially in hospital situations. My “new” rule is I want a business card from every doctor giving medical advice. For my BOOK. It’s real easy to get “verbals”. It may even be on paper. But, it was transcribed by a busy nurse listening to a distracted doc. If it’s important enough for my Patient to take or do, then it’s important enough for a doc to take the time to tell us. I have a litany of medication errors, mistakes, and misunderstandings to back that up.)
In dealing with labs, you must insist that every test copies you. You will save yourself a lot of time and aggravation my keeping your own file of lab reports. (LABS) As part of your book, you should record the testing and refer to the document. By some reference.
(Interesting aside. If you have a lab report, or a copy of a lab report, how do you KNOW that it wasn’t been altered. How do you prove that any document hasn’t been altered. Crypto checksum?)
If you set up your CHRONOLOGY document correctly, you can extract a doctor specific chronology.
I’d suggest you start today, before things become critical and you have to scramble.
Besides who knows when they were vaccinated for measles?
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