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If you’re like many people, you struggle to remember all the medications and supplements you are taking, or maybe you have a pile of medical records and bills that desperately needs to be filed. Don’t panic. There are a variety of ways to organize your medication information that will save you time and your sanity.

List Medications and Allergies

A simple thing to organize is your list of allergies and medications for each household member. These can be typed up and printed out to fit in your wallet or purse for easy access when you visit your doctor. There are many websites and blogs that offer free printables for logging medications and allergies, and some pharmacies even offer this service for their customers. It also helps to keep a backup copy at home with the rest of your medical records.

Compile a Medical History Notebook

Using a binder or a plain notebook, list in chronological order all your operations, medical procedures, and acute and chronic conditions. When it’s complete, this will make filling out doctor’s office paperwork a breeze, because your entire medical history is already compiled. If you’re compiling records for all family members, make sure each person has their own notebook or file. These can include immunization records, blood types, organ donor information, allergy and medication lists, and legal paperwork such as advanced directives.

Sort Medical Bills and Receipts

While going through your medical paperwork, you may find medical bills and receipts mixed in with test results. It’s important to separate actual records, such as test results, from bills. Both tend to pile up fast, especially if you’re managing any chronic conditions. Whether you file your bills in a hanging file system, a binder, or online, it helps to keep them in chronological order. You’ll probably have copies of Explanations of Benefit (EOB) from your insurance company for each medical service that was filed to your insurance. When possible, place them with your medical bills for each service. Separating medical receipts from other records will help during tax season if you are able to deduct them on your taxes.

Digitize Your Records

Once every family member has their own medical records folder, then it’s a good idea to digitize your records. You can do this by scanning documents to your computer in your spare time or ask one of your tech-savvy children to do this. If you don’t have an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, then you can purchase a small scanner especially for saving paperwork. They can range in cost from $80 to $400, depending on your needs. It’s important to save the records in easily recognizable file names, such as John Smith Appendectomy March 2016 or Kaitlin Smith Tonsils July 2017. After they’ve been digitized, save them in multiple places, such as a flash drive, CD, or a cloud program such as Dropbox or Evernote. Once they are backed up, shred the papers you aren’t required to keep, and this will free up valuable space in your home.

Organizing paperwork, especially medical paperwork, can be confusing and overwhelming, but it can be made easier. If you focus on one thing at a time, before you know it your medical records will be easy to access. And the next time you get sick, you can focus on getting better instead of dealing with all the paperwork.

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