Personal Electronic Health Records

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Until worldwide access to medical information is available, there is something you can do to make your personal medical information available in the event of an emergency: Put it on a flash drive and carry it with you. Flash drives can be found at most electronics and office supply stores. If you don’t have your own computer, you may be able to use one at a public library to put your information on a flash drive (and the library staff may be able to help). Once you have created a file using Microsoft Word or a similar program, in most cases you can simply plug the drive into your computer and drag the file onto the drive’s icon to save it. If you’re not using Word, you should save the file as plain text. Here’s what to include in your file:

  • Your complete name, date of birth, address, and phone number
  • Allergies
  • Past illnesses
  • Injuries
  • Surgeries
  • Chronic conditions (such as diabetes)
  • Drugs you are currently taking, including doses
  • History of hospitalizations
  • Relevant family history
  • History of drug and alcohol use
  • Medical insurance information
  • Date of your last tetanus injection
  • Name and telephone number of an emergency contact person
  • Your physician’s name, location, and other contact information

You might also want to include these as separate files:

  • Living will
  • Photo ID (as a scanned digital picture)

Don’t forget to label the flash drive and have its location engraved on your medical identification bracelet or necklace (keeping it on your key chain may be a good idea). And remember to update the information if any of it changes.

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