The importance of managing your personal health record cannot be emphasized enough. If there is a health crisis and a patient goes to an emergency room, the doctors do not have access to your personal health information. They could administer drugs to which a person is allergic or refuse to provide care without the proper information. Caregivers must organize the information and keep it handy so that it is available in a crisis. This is true especially for older adults who often have multiple medical conditions and a lifetime of medical history. It is also true because in today’s environment, a patient may change physicians annually because of insurance plan changes. This makes it more difficult for health information to be complete, current and follow the patient.

A Personal Health Record should contain the names and contact information of each physician with which the person has a relationship. Record any allergies, persons to contact in an emergency, previous surgeries, most recent hospital visit and diagnosis. Name the healthcare power of attorney and attach the advance directive. Note the last TB test, mammogram (if applicable), tetanus shot, X-ray, CT Scans, and MRIs taken. Attach recent blood work results or physicals. This gives a physician critical information in an emergency. Record your blood type.

Personal Health Information can be recorded in a number of different ways. Information can be stored on paper, on a computer, on a credit card sized card for use during out of country travel, on a CD or flashdrive or on the website. The website is a single point of entry that allows a user under ID and password to record personal health information to be called up at any doctor’s office. By keeping personal health information recorded, the patient is managing his/her own health information. This helps in avoiding duplication of medical tests and services.

Barbara Dressel of Emed International, Inc. reports that information can be recorded on a credit card-sized card, dog tags, key chains or bracelet to be carried with anyone who is traveling abroad or in a crisis for a nominal fee. Contact them at or call 888-326-4040 for more information. Information must be updated annually to be current. Information can also be inexpensively stored on a computer file and stored on a CD or flashdrive to be printed out when needed.

Having your personal health information available no matter how it is stored can be critical during emergencies. A caregiver must organize information for anyone under their care for use during doctor’s visits and hospital stays. In today’s healthcare environment, each person is responsible for their own medical information.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Keefe is President and Geriatric Care Manager for A+ Aging Advantage of St. Louis, MO. Ms. Keefe holds a Masters in Gerontology from Webster University. She is President of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging Foundation; speaker for the Alzheimer's Association Speaker's Bureau and a member of the National Association for Professional Geriatric Care Managers. To access more information, click on