Today I was reflecting on ALL the paperwork that comes from medical issues. I've had my share of surgeries; this one was minor in scope, yet there are sheafs of papers on my desk to deal with. Here are the guidelines I used for filing, purging and organizing them.
1. All medical correspondence gets seperated into a basket when it comes in the mail. Once or twice a week I spend 15 minutes opening the envelopes and categorizing the contents.
2. Anything that requires action I do immediately if it will take me less than 2 minutes (ie confirming an appointment matches what I have in my calendar); if it will take longer than 5 minutes I schedule a time to take care of it. This strategy was particularly handy when requesting a copy of medical records for disability insurance - turns out there is a 14 week back log at the records office - the longer I put off requesting them the longer I have to wait to file for disability.
3. File File File! This is part of the 2 minute or less from above - if the piece of paper is in my hand it needs to be put in its proper place, or I'll end up having to deal with it again. No one, and I mean No One, likes to deal with piles of papers (unless, of course, I'm with a client - I love working with other people's piles!). Clutter is delayed decisions - if the paper is in your hand and you know what to do with it - DO IT! I also take files with me to my appointments - all the medical history is in one place and easily referred to.
4. Every time I sit in the reception area waiting for an appointment I go thru the file I have with me. Any non-pertinent papers go OUT (ie old appt. confirmations, expired prior authorizations, etc). It was surprising how little I am left with when I purge frequently.
Medical correspondence can be overwhelming, especially if one is suffering from a chronic condition - using the above steps will help you regain control of the situation and stay on top of your health care. If there are others involved in your care it will help them have a clear picture of what you are dealing with.