As a physical therapist, I hear patients complain all the time about filling out paperwork prior to their initial appointment. I’ll admit, I complain as well. I’ve had a few patients come in with their own completed health history documents and I have often thought I NEED to compile my health information as well. Unfortunately, many health providers are unable to access health information from other providers unless they are working within the same health system. Filling out our health histories can be time-consuming not to mention a challenge for some. Think about how long it would take you to fill out several pages of health questions if you recently injured your dominant hand? Or suffered a stroke? Or have a brain injury, suffered from migraines, or had a concussion? I too get annoyed with health paperwork, but as a provider I rely heavily on the information included.
This post is meant to help us organize our health histories into concise documents that can be updated when needed. While some healthcare providers will still require some questions to be answered regarding your reason for visiting their office, at least this form will help keep the extra paperwork to a minimum if you print an updated copy and take it with you to each of your visits. Just keep in mind that you will still have to sign several consent and privacy forms at each office. (You can complain, but it won’t help…many of these forms are mandatory.)
First, download and save this document, Medical History, to your computer for each family member. You could also help out aging parents or family members by beginning a file for them. Then begin compiling information and update the file after each and every doctor’s visit with changes/updates. While your history may not be thorough, at least from this point on it will be complete. If you or your child is adopted, make sure and note that as well as any biological health history you are aware of.
Parents will need to add themselves and their contact information to their children’s health history document as well as alter the statement at the end of the document to indicate you are the parent/guardian of the child. For older children, you may also want to list school and extracurricular activity information. For example, if your child participates in sports, you may want to list information for the athletic trainers that cover your child’s practices and sporting events.
While this seems like another project that will just be too time consuming to complete, I assure you, over the course of many years, keeping track of your own as well as your family’s health history WILL save you time. Not to mention, these documents could come in very handy during a medical emergency!