Newly Diagnosed? Get Organized
Diagnosis is overwhelming but getting organized around your healthcare will generate a sense of empowerment as you learn more about your disease and begin to navigate treatment.
Below you will find a few tips from Amy Iacopi, founder of Iacopi Health Research, to organize yourself before your next appointment:
Keep Your Health Records Up-to-Date
- Make sure that your medical team has access to all of your health records. If your primary doctor is in the same health system as your specialist, you are in luck! If they don’t share records electronically, you’ll need to call each of your doctors (don’t forget urgent care and emergency rooms, if applicable) and request copies for yourself as well as the specialists. I actually recommend doing this once a year so that your doctors have what they need should anything come up.
Know Your Medications
- Gather a print-out from your pharmacy or bring a bag of your medications and nutritional supplements. You would be surprised how certain drugs and vitamins negatively interact with each other so your health team will need this information.
Check In With Your Insurance
- Insurance can be a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be. Get a head start on the process by calling your insurance to alert them to your diagnosis and upcoming appointments. Ask for a point person and direct phone number so that when you or the doctor’s office have questions, you have a personal contact.
Privacy and Communication with Family, Friends & Employers
- Families and patients should discuss what information gets shared with whom and when. Some patients don’t want to know their own prognosis information and others do. The patient’s support team needs to be on the same page once in the doctor’s office so start having these conversations early.
Keeping track of your medical records and staying organized will greatly benefit you and your medical team. By reducing the time that it takes for them to know your medical history, you are helping to expedite the process from diagnosis to treatment. Make sure to have a point person in your family or community who has access to this information and knows exactly who to share it with the event of an emergency. Keep detailed notes and never be afraid to ask questions!
Amy Iacopi is founder of Iacopi Health Research, a personalized patient advocacy practice which aims to humanize the medical experience for patients and their families during a health crisis.