The 6 P’s for Working Well with your Doctor:
Part 3 – Keeping Track of Appointments
How often have you lost your appointment card? You know the ones, the little business cards they give you with the time and date for your next appointments?
Or worse still, a whole big A4 sized letter that the specialist has posted out to you. I wonder if they evaporate? Either that or there is a monster that lives in the bottom of my handbag that gobbles up the appointment cards, and I’m certain my shredder comes alive at night after I’ve gone to bed, then it rifles through my desk and eats up my letters with appointment details. Surely I can’t possibly lose them all?
You know what I’m talking about.
It’s a full time job having a chronic illness, or caring for someone who does.
Juggling appointments for two kids that cover a Paediatrician, GP, Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Cardiologist, Rheumatologist, Physiotherapist, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Occupational Therapist, Exercise Physiologist etc, I’m sure you can imagine my predicament!
I was forever having to ring them up to ask when the next appointment was, or worse still, would get the reminder phone call the day before, only to realise they hadn’t had the blood test whose results we were meeting to discuss! Eeeek!
I HAD to get organized! I needed a system!
So here’s what I do now. When I receive an appointment notification in the mail, I write it in my diary as soon as I open it. If they need a blood test prior to the appointment, I write that in my diary too! I usually organize the blood tests a week and a half before the appointment, just to make sure I’ve allowed enough time for the test to be run and the results to be forwarded to the doctor/practitioner.
If I’m out and about and receive an appointment card, I place it in my purse now, rather than just throwing it in my bag – never to be seen again! As soon as I get home, I take it out and write it in my diary. One of these days I’ll figure out how to use the calendar on my phone, but until then, I still work with an old fashioned paper diary.
I’ve also started up a new system recently
At the front of their medical folders, I have a page with all of their upcoming appointments. Sometimes I want to quickly see at a glance when the next appointment is, especially as we have to travel interstate for quite a few of them.
The other little “hack” that I’ve implemented recently, is a master list of all their practitioners, specialists, allied health care workers and doctors. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier! Now it is so easy to find a phone number, address, email or fax number when I need to. I’ve also discovered a second benefit. It’s amazing how often one doctor will ask for the contact details for another – even if they work in the same hospital! I’ve impressed quite a few when I’ve been able to whip out the page with all their details on there!
What are your tips and hacks for keeping on top of the mountains of medical paperwork?