Where are your medical records?
Probably with your doctor, as they should be. Your doctor needs these records to track your care and provide the best treatment.
But it's also a good idea to have your own copy of your health records.
Your medical records are called your personal health record, or PHR. And when viewed over the Internet, health records are called an electronic health record (EHR) or electronic medical record (EMR).
You'll need your health
records if you change doctors, move, get sick when you're away from home, or
end up in an emergency room. If any of these things happen and you have your
records, you may get treatment more quickly and it will be safer.
Keep a summary of your PHR in a safe place. And be sure that someone you trust also knows where you keep it.
What to keep with you
Keep personal information and current and past health
Personal information includes:
- Identification, such as a driver's license.
- Who to
call in an emergency.
- The name and phone number of your primary
- Your insurance card.
- Your organ donor card, if you
Current health information includes:
- Information that is needed in an emergency,
such as whether you have a
pacemaker or a
stent, or have hearing or vision
- A list of your long-term (chronic) health problems, such
high blood pressure.
- A list of the medicines(What is a PDF document?) you are taking. Include prescription and
over-the-counter medicines, dietary and herbal
supplements, and vitamins and minerals. For each medicine, give the name of the
doctor who prescribed it, why you are taking it, how much you take, and any
- A list of your allergies, including
Your medical history also is important. Keep track of:
- Major health problems you've had in the past, such as pneumonia or broken bones, or problems with alcohol or drugs.
- Major health problems in your family, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes.
- A history of childbirth, if you're a woman. This includes how many children you've had and any miscarriages, cesarean sections, or abortions you've had.
You can write a short summary of this information and keep a copy in your files and in your wallet or purse. You also can keep this information on a portable storage device for computers.
To keep track of your family health history, use this form(What is a PDF document?) or go to the Surgeon General's family health portrait website at www.hhs.gov/familyhistory.
What to keep at home
Having medical records for
each member of your family can help you make better health decisions. Records
to keep include:
- All the information noted above.
immunization record with dates of childhood
and adulthood immunizations.
- Any health screening results, such as those for
cholesterol, vision, and hearing.
cancer screenings, such as
PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests.
- Records of any major surgeries or times you were in the
- Records of your hearing and vision checkups.
- A list of medicines you've used in the past.