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Craig G. Hurwitz, M.D.

take charge

The healthcare system continues to go through major changes.  In hopes of driving  down costs and improving quality and safety, new electronic health records are being implemented.  Many of you have experienced trying to talk to your doctor while she is navigating your computer records.  It has certainly added to the challenge of connecting with patients during office visits.  What has not changed is the importance of the health history.  It does not matter if it's on paper, discs, iPhones or flash drives.  What matters is the accuracy of the information and the clarity of communication between you and your caregivers to improve the chance of 'the right diagnosis' leading to 'the right treatment'. 

When I was growing up my father's medical office was in our house and managed by my mother.  My parents converted our garage into exam rooms and labs where he could see patients.  You may often hear me introduce my father as "the real Dr. Hurwitz".  During the mid 1990's when the health insurance system was going through major changes my father experienced a similar disruption in the healthcare system primarily related to continuity of care.  This led him to co-write a book with my mother entitled "Take Charge Of Your Health Care".  That book could be considered a "survival guide" for patients.  While I was in my second year of med school  the book was published and was extremely useful to many of his patients, people in the community and our own family. 

I frequently have discussions with my patients about these tracking techniques.  Setting up and maintaining a personal health record is a valuable tool for patients to improve the care they receive.  One of the main complaints I hear is how fragmented the health-care system is.  When I became a specialist I remember my father telling me to be sure I always sent records to the primary doctor to avoid this problem.  The worksheets and techniques outlined here are provided for free and our hope is that you will use them to create your own meaningful long-term personal health record.  By taking an active and responsible role, your time spent with doctors becomes much more productive and is more likely to lead to optimal health.  These worksheets are for those people who seek excellence in health care.  It is a noble goal.


Your Personal Medical Record: Helping Your Doctor Help You

  1. Your diagnosis/problem sheet

  2. Your medication/allergy sheet

  3. Your immunization sheet

  4. Family history, social history and occupational history

  5. Tracking your symptoms before an office visit and the health diary