September DSMA Blog Carnival: Can I get a copy of those notes?

This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival topic goes back to the August 20th Twitter chat, asking a question that I have a difficult time answering:
Do you request a copy of your medical notes? If so, how often? If not, why?
I hate to show my ridiculous ignorance on this subject, but the answer is no.

I have never asked for a copy of my medical notes. Ever. I’ve asked for a copy of prescriptions. My endocrinologist sends them in directly to my prescription provider, so if I didn’t ask for a copy, I wouldn’t have a record of what I’ve been prescribed.

But other than the prescriptions, I’ve pretty much let my doctor, nurse practitioner, etc. take the notes and keep them to themselves. To be honest, I’ve never thought about asking for the notes before. It makes sense. I’d like to know what my file looks like. I’d like to know if they make a mistake in a diagnosis or a therapy or a prescription. However, right now, my only reason for asking for a copy of my medical notes is to satisfy my own curiosity.

But the question does make me think of something that’s been at the forefront of my mind lately. I need to start putting together a file full of notes of my own.

I got this idea from a co-worker, who showed me the tablet he uses on a daily basis. On it, he has his elderly mother’s critical medical information. Information like doctor names, addresses, and phone numbers. All of her doctors. If her general practitioner tells her she needs to make an appointment with her podiatrist, he just pulls up the information from the tablet and makes the call right away. He’s also got data on prescriptions, their strength, and how often they need to be taken. This helps when a doctor prescribes one thing, then another doctor prescribes something else that might interact badly with what she’s already taking. If she suddenly finds herself in the emergency room, he has all of her information in one easy-to-read place.

I realize something like this isn’t always well received by medical professionals, but I also know that all of my data is in separate places right now. And having all of my information in one place can’t hurt. I also know that if I were to find myself in a situation where I couldn’t speak for myself, my spouse would want that information at her fingertips. There’s the chance that it could get hacked and stolen and used for nefarious purposes. But I think the benefits of having such a cache of information on an easily-accessible platform would outweigh any potential risks.

So there you have it… A very meek “No” to our question this month. But, as always, the Blog Carnival topic has me thinking about how to better manage my diabetes. And that can only yield positive results in the future.

This post is my September entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

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  • Karen  On September 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve never asked for copies of my notes either. But more important, it never occurred to me to ask for a copy of my prescriptions. Recently my endos office changed the way the do prescriptions – instead of giving me the paper prescription to bring to the pharmacy or mail to my supplier, they do it all electronically. It’s a good point that I should have a copy for myself, just to be sure it was filled correctly, if nothing else.


    • StephenS  On September 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      So true. Sometimes I forget how much I have to change as things change around me.



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