As a nurse I knew all of the dangers. As a patient, I struggled with the nausea and headache for a few weeks. As an adult, I still had no idea that my hostel had delivered this serious communicable infection to a healthy kid less than a month after all the warning signs were flashing in my face.
In the days after my nasty episode, the staff at the hostel told me to place this important paper receipt and test results near my bed every day to show me if they’d been replaced. When it came time to test the chicken pox virus—something with which I couldn’t yet be bothered—the nurse called me and said I needed to urgently line up my prescriptions for my drugs at the chemist.
I was carrying hundreds of medical records in my wallet. It made me feel like someone tried to put cotton in my eye, except worse than that, there was no medication to keep me alive.
I remember the day I saw the empty vaccine card, sitting just five feet away from me. I’d been doing a lot of research on ways to stay healthy, and I’d gone through the online replacement process. But the card came back with no verification date, no plastic, nothing. This was my health card—the most personal thing I owned, and it was gone.
READ MORE: Why You Should Always Read and Double-Check Your Letter
My recovery took a long time, and if I hadn’t kept all these records I would’ve been out of the hostel with a sprained ankle and without a job. I was carrying hundreds of medical records in my wallet. It made me feel like someone tried to put cotton in my eye, except worse than that, there was no medication to keep me alive.
Because my injury and poor health had shaken my confidence in places I go to on a daily basis, I was embarrassed to open up all of my medical documentation to the doctor. This information was just part of my normal routine—who would believe me if I told them that I hadn’t visited the doctor for eight weeks? I was in a rush to get back to work and eventually got my health card back, but I’d spent six weeks with no vital vaccination records. I had to constantly remind myself that I still had to make sure my vaccines were up to date, and even though my doctor was positive about my health, I still had to keep reminding myself.
But now I see that our phones can help us to manage our health like no other technology before. Bring your health records onto your phone, and you’ll be able to keep track of your vaccines, medical tests, and healthcare providers on your phone, without worrying that you’ll forget everything.
You can write these records on your phone in the same format as your ID, so if you lose your phone, you’ll still have your medical data. Whether you’re worried about where your data is and what it can do, or whether you’re upset that you forgot to renew your medication—a smart device like the Samsung Galaxy S9 or iPhone X is a secure, easy-to-use tool that’s probably a good idea to have with you. If your smartphone is in your pocket and in your purse at all times, you’ll also feel more comfortable keeping a medical file with you all the time.
Read: How To Find Your Health Records on Your Smartphone
READ MORE: Where Can I Find My Vaccination Records?
Or, if you just want to know what’s up and where your data is stored, you can scan a QR code and then ask for the records on your phone. Scanning a physical record is still important for some workers, but this technology is available on all phones.
Get up close and personal with your data—your health, and that of everyone else, is one of the most intimate things you own. Keep it safe, and look around for your critical information.
Image credit: Gianfranco Bilotti/Flickr
Originally published in Health