Write Your Way to Well: The Importance of Keeping a Medical Journal
- - Mar 22, 2017
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Every day in my medical office, a repetitive and predictable pattern occurs. I see new patients who are seeking my advice for improving their heath. I love these visits because one of my favorite things about being a doctor is hearing each patient’s personal story. It’s like reading a new book from cover to cover. Unfortunately, there is one problem with the telling of these stories: There are chapters missing. And it’s incredibly difficult to understand any story when you’re missing major details and key pieces of the plot.
Regardless of their age or health status, people have considerable difficulty retelling their medical story. This happens for a number of reasons. We don’t like to remember the times we are sick, and we prefer to focus on the times we are vibrant and well. It’s actually a protective mechanism to forget the extent and severity of pain. We also tend to quickly forget timelines and sequences of events related to our medical care.
The problem with this is that our health and well-being depend on understanding and learning how to tell our medical story. Here’s why:
1. Every time your health information changes hands, there’s an opportunity for error.
2. Your physician and healthcare providers make important decisions based on the information you provide to them.
3. Your doctors don’t always receive all of your past medical records, even records that have been requested.
4. When we are in control of and understand our health information, we feel comfortable and make better decisions.
My goal is to help people learn how to be rock stars at managing their health. One of my top recommendations is to keep a medical journal. It’s a simple, and valuable tool that you can bring to your appointments and use for future reference. I firmly believe that you need to understand, organize and manage your health information if you want to address any health concern successfully.
When you use a medical journal, there’s a simple approach you can take to organize your health information. Just think of these three major topics and questions before each medical visit:
By keeping these simple questions in mind before each appointment and using a medical journal as a tool during visits, you can have a better experience and therefore a better outcome for your health care. In other words, you can write your way to well!