1. Health

6 Ways to Organize Personal Medical Information

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Updated July 30, 2013

Recalling the details of your medication cabinet doesn't come easily during a medical emergency. But that information is vital to the professionals taking care of you. Emergencies happen when we least expect it, so it's important to prepare ahead of time.

Here are some products and services designed to help prepare you for the unexpected. Regardless which one you use, be sure to update medical information regularly. Outdated information may be more dangerous than none at all.

1. Medic Tag USB Device

Medic Tag is another USB device designed to keep detailed medical records handy. Medic Tag doesn't use the internet to access information.

The Problem: Same as the E-HealthKEY; Most ambulances are not equipped with portable computers to access devices like these.

2. Personal Medical Jewelry

Medical jewelry is an old standby. MedicAlert makes the most recognizable bracelets, with basic information engraved on the back of the company's emblem. Emergency workers can immediately see important conditions or allergies.

Be sure to include information on conditions that may leave you incapacitated. Depending on the state, jewelry may also be used to indicate end-of-life decisions.

Some jewelry is supported with databases that emergency workers can access.

The Problem: You have to wear it!

3. Wallet Cards

At home it's important to keep personal medical information handy. In your wallet or purse it doesn't need to be as detailed, but it does need to cover some basic information:
  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Drug or food allergies
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Emergency contacts
Whether you print the info on a card with a computer or by hand, make sure it's legible.

The Problem: Ambulance personnel probably won't look in your wallet. More than likely, the card will be found at the hospital.

4. Put Your Cell Phone on ICE

ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency." Putting "ICE" next to a number in your cell phone's contact list will tell medical or law enforcement personnel which number to call in an emergency. A sticker on the phone will let emergency workers know there is an emergency contact inside.

The Problem: Ambulance personnel may not look in your phone. They will, however, take your phone to the hospital where workers can call your emergency contact.

5. Vial of Life

The Vial of Life Project is free to use and provides a form to fill out with medical information. The form is then placed on your refrigerator. A sticker is then placed on the front door to alert responders to the presence of the "vial" on the fridge.

The Problem: This method only works at home.

6. Scroll I.D.

The Scroll I.D. is a low-tech version of the USB keychain devices. A small scroll with personal medical information is housed inside a keychain. It carries the same type of personal medical information as a wallet card. Identification issues are alleviated by putting the owner's picture on the scroll.

The Problem: This product is not as well known as the others above. Rescuers may not recognize this object as a medical information device. The manufacturer is working to increase awareness.
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  6. Medical Jewelry and Other Emergency Devices

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