3 Ways to Organize Your Medical Information

You get a bad infection and the doctor wants to know if you are allergic to any types of medicines. You cut your skin with a sharp instrument and the nurse wants to know your blood type. You keep switching doctors due to changes in your health insurance plan.

Having organized, easily accessible medical records can be the difference between life and death. Sounds dramatic, but it can be true. So let’s look at some of the ways you can organize your medical data.

Idea #1 Expanding Folders with a Flap: One expanding folder per family member. This folder comes with dividers that you can label by doctor name, medical specialty, system within the body (circulatory, etc.) or some other way that works for you. You may want to have a piece of paper at the front of each section for basic information. If you have any test results or notes from an appointment they can be put behind the appropriate divider. By having records in an expandable folder, you can easily take the entire folder to an appointment and have all pertinent information with you.

Idea #2 Binders: One binder per family member with subject dividers. Similar to the expandable folders, these dividers can be named by doctor name, medical specialty, system within the body or some other way that works for you. You may want to have a piece of paper at the front of each section for basic information. If you have any test results or notes from an appointment they can be put behind the appropriate divider. If you have extensive medical history, it may either take a big binder or multiple binders. If more than one binder is necessary, then you have to make a decision about which information goes into each binder.

Idea #3 Electronic: Electronic refers to two different concepts:

• Electronic copies of information you also have in hard copy. The best way to organize these is to set up files within your computer that are parallel to the structure of your paper files. This is a whole article unto itself, so I won’t give additional information on this at this time.

• Websites or software that allows you to manage your medical records online or on your computer.

Products for purchase: As you can imagine, there are some products on the market that can help you organize your medical records. Some of them are listed below. These resources are for reference purpose only and not intended to be an endorsement for any specific product.

• Jakoter Health Organizers has several different products available including a pre-made binder to sort and organize your medical records and “health tag” to house your records on a special flash drive. They have additional resources including free downloadable forms and links to related websites.

• MedicTag is a USB medic alert tag designed for emergency medical information and alerts. It is an easy way to have access to all of your health records. It is especially useful in unexpected medical situations.

• My Pro Medical Health Records Organizer is a combination electronic and hard copy way to save your medical information. Detailed binder includes places to organize your medical records, an instruction guide, tracking forms, and method for organizing contact information for medical professionals. CD with forms allows you to save medical information electronically or print out forms you have filled in.

• Quicken Medical Expense Manager helps you make sense of your medical bills and expenses by organizing your medical history and expenses on your computer. This program keeps your medical information in one easy-to-access place and works on many health plans.

Cheat sheet: If you want to have a document that is easily carried with you at all times, I have found one that I like. It is called Pocket.doc. It is the size of a credit card which then unfolds into a series of forms for specific information. In one small “package,” you can keep local and out-of-state contacts, blood type, primary physician, insurance, current medications, immunization and allergies.

Your well-being is everything. Don’t jeopardize your health because you can’t locate vital information.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher and How to Get an Emergency Medical Dispatcher Job

Sometimes referred to as 911 operators even though they can be found in many other work environments, emergency medical dispatchers form an important link between persons in need of emergency medical attention and paramedics and other healthcare professionals. Their work will typically entail receiving crisis calls from the scene of a medical emergency.

It is their responsibility to gather key information, quickly access the scenario, give lifesaving medical instructions and then dispatch appropriate emergency personnel to manage the emergency on site or evacuate the victim. Given the nature of the calls they receive, emergency medical dispatcher must be tactful in how he or she talks to the caller so that they can calm them down sufficiently to get an accurate picture of the extent of emergency, nature of injury suffered or illness experienced and the victim’s location.

EMDs work in a broad array of job sectors. They may be employed at a fire station, police station, a county level emergency response unit or a hospital dispatch center. As one would expect from a crisis-driven work place, the role is fast paced and the dispatcher has to cope with high stress levels. An emergency medical dispatchers sometimes must work for long and odd hours with their role often not enjoying the privilege of rest during weekends or public holidays.

For one to be an emergency medical dispatcher, they must develop ways of handling high pressure situations and managing stress. The job calls for one to make correct decisions quickly that will help stem the danger presented by the problem at hand. Since the dispatcher notifies and deploys personnel to deal with the issue on site, they must be effective team players who can coordinate rescue teams and provide additional support even when the team is already on site.

A medical dispatcher will often be called upon to provide basic life saving medical instructions over the phone. Such instructions could include essential first aid tips, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), steps to calm down the victim and the procedure of safely delivering a baby outside a medical facility.

All these are meant to keep the victim stable before the arrival of the rescue team and paramedics. This means that the dispatcher’s interpersonal and communication skills must be exceptional – any ambiguity in their communication may worsen a life threatening situation.

Like any other job in the world today, the role of technology in the day to day execution of the emergency medical dispatcher’s duties is on the increase. Therefore, the emergency medical dispatcher’s computer, internet and telecommunication literacy levels must be up to date with the most frequently used technology in the market.

In order for one to increase the probability of being called up for an EMD job interview and later hired, he or she must demonstrate proficiency in algebra, medical terminology, first aid, computer skills, psychology, biology, English, telephone communication and public speaking. The ability to speak one or more foreign languages is usually an added advantage.

One must have successfully completed a training specializing in Emergency Medical Dispatcher and that meets the standards set out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Emergency Medical Dispatchers should also obtain a National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) certificate which licenses them to work as qualified medical practitioners.

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Emergency Medical Care Plan – Items to Include and Why You Need Them

An emergency care plan with a buddy system is among the top list of priorities for primary caregivers. Every caregiver should have at least one other person [buddy], that is well trained to take over in their absence. Whether they are trained professionally or not, they must also be trained by the primary caregiver to the particular needs of the patient.

This is done for several reasons and can prevent a bad situation from becoming a nightmare in emergencies. The designated ‘buddy’ should be familiar with the routine of the patient, the medicine schedule and dosing, emergency medical contacts [doctors, hospitals, transport services, next of kin] and emergency procedures in addition to the care required. It a good idea to have an emergency care kit in triplicate. One kit should be left with or near the patient, one kit with the buddy and one kit placed in a ‘readily accessible’ location for emergencies or emergency personal.

The emergency care kit should contain the following items:

a. Diagnosis and/or medical conditions Alert Sheet that also lists any known allergies, surgeries or implants. Make sure to include contact lens, dentures or medical implants information. *Also make note of any body piercings not readily visible.

b. list of prescribed medicines, including the strength, dosage, how often taken and the date the patient started medications. In addition to this, any recently discontinued or changed medications over the past six months should also be listed. Any OTC (over the counter) medications taken with any frequency should be listed as well.

c. the names of all doctors involved in the patient’s care, their regular and emergency contact telephone numbers and services.

d. photocopies of picture identification, medical IDs, and insurance information.

e. three emergency contacts listing the names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Additionally, listing their employer’s contact information is another measure you might wish to take. Emergencies never happen at a convenient time, so taking the employers’ information into account, is a measure well taken.

f. a document containing the most recent medical procedure or event. This can be the results of most recent EEG test, blood work, office or emergency visit.

g. a summary sheet of the patient’s medical history, medical procedures, and any other pertinent information that will aid in the efficient, accurate treatment of the patient.

The emergency care kit is a blessing to alternate caregivers as well as emergency medical professionals. It saves valuable time in emergency situations and provides accurate instructions, vital information, and can potentially save the patients life.

Depending on the age of the patient, a ‘supplemental’ care kit should be kept handy. This package should be tailored to the pleasure and needs of the patient as well as the caregiver. Items such as books, puzzles, a favorite toy, a change of clothing for both parties (don’t forget the slippers and nightware), toothbrushes, hairbrushes, sample sized toiletries, and snacks will take on extreme importance if hospitalization is required. This package should also include a notepad with pen or pencil for the caregiver, as they will often times find themselves in the position of needing to take notes. Make sure to unpack and repack every couple months to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness of items.

Copyright ©2008 All Rights Retained and Reserved O’Della Wilson AKA Alhavakia