24 February 2011

Filofax Medical Journal

I just got back from the travel clinic, where I got seven (yes 7) vaccines. Ugh.  While the nurse was writing down everything I had today, I asked if I was set for life for all of these or if I need boosters eventually.  Turns out some of them need to be boosted 3 years from now, some 5 years from now, some 10 years and one 20 years from now. I'll never remember which is which.

Of course my kids and husband are getting all the same vaccines as we prepare to move to Indonesia.  How will I ever remember who needs what and when?

Add that to the fact that we move so often we usually see a different doctor each year. This gets complicated when I have to have my annual female exam, my annual skin-cancer check at the dermatologist, kids' medical, dental and eye exams, on and on.  Each new doc needs to know our history and anything that needs to be followed up.

I've realized that as we move (and move and move) and especially as the kids get older, I am going to have to figure out a way to keep it all straight in an accurate and accessible way.

Filofax to the rescue! I have decided to start a Medical Journal Filofax in one of my Personal size Filofaxes with a tabbed section for each of us to keep track of when we are due for vaccines (and which ones), who is due for which exams and when, general medical history, test results, and anything else that we might need when visiting a new doctor. In the A-Z section in the back I will record addresses and phone numbers of doctors we have seen, to make it easier to contact them later if needed.  Shuffling around all over the world makes it impossible to have any medical continuity, so I have to create it for myself.

Does anyone else use a Filofax as a medical journal? Do you have any tips for me as I create mine?


  1. Bravo Laurie, I bet you feel like a pin cushion after that lot. I hate needles at the best of times, but to have that lot in one go..urgh!!

    Great to see you have found another use for Filofax... Custom pages required?


  2. Ooh, custom pages are a great idea. Vaccines received and future booster dates is the first page that comes to mind!

  3. Laurie
    You could also do a print out of the immunisation schedules although they vary by countries. It would be useful to keep a copy of the current one for the UK. Here is a link

    I needed loads of travel vaccines for when I worked in a refugee camp in Thailand. The japanese encephalitis one was quite nasty and made me feel unwell! Anyways I am all for immunisations :-)

  4. Thanks very much for the link CB! I agree, even though vaccines are unpleasant, they are much better than getting the diseases themselves!

  5. What about a family organiser
    code #6848610

    Or a 4 year planner
    code #6840311

  6. Poor you Laurie! But great idea for the filofax. We are lucky and have had the same doctor for 25 years! However I do have blood test regularly so I like to keep track of the results - I do note them down freehand at the moment. I think for the vaccines you need to have a customised sheet which lists each one, the date and the date when the booster is required - a bit like a spreadsheet.

  7. R great idea about the 4 year planner. I already have the Family Organizer (in both A5 and Personal sizes) and the thing it needs but completely lacks is any kind of medical pages. I told Brigitte in London that they should think about adding a page or more for each family member to record when vaccines are due, medical/ dental/ eye exam dates, etc. Back in the day when Go Mom planners were available for purchase in stores, they had excellent Medical pages for recording things like this.

    Alison I think you are right, I do need a page just like that. Then I think I should freehand a separate page per yer for future years 10 years out and write on each year's page what is due that year.

  8. Franklin Covey has some medical record pages. I keep my info in a spreadsheet, but I plan to eventually print them out and put them in a medical section in my personal filo.

    My 5 bunnies already have a bunny filo with tabs for each and medical records behind each tab. I bought a little booklet made for cats last year that has numerous pages for records of all sorts, and I am going to create some more pages for my bunnies using these as templates (even though in the States bunnies get no vaccines like cats do).

    I keep addresses for suppliers in the bunny filo; but for veterinarians, I just keep the business cards in a business card holder in the filo.

  9. I have a medical page set-up for my mom because she's elderly and takes lots of medication for various things. It's mostly just a chart to help keep track of meds - name, dose, times per day, when/by whom it was prescribed, allergies ...

    But time goes by fast! So I send an email "invitation" to myself for about 3 months in the future. This reminds me to check in on mom's updates and make them. As soon as I do, I set up another invite. (It's sort of like setting up and inviting myself to meetings.)

    This has worked really well - for the past 5 years or so, nothing has slipped through the cracks. Maybe you could set up similar electronic "invitations" for immunizations, appointments, etc., to go along with your paper record!

  10. Hi Laurie ~ when I saw your post my ears perked up. I have kept a medical journal (filofax) for my son for years. He lives with several chronic illnesses and is followed by five specialists and his pediatrician.

    I use the week-on-two-pages as a daily diary of not only appointments, but more importantly a record of what is happening in his body and his life each day. Over time we look for connections.

    The tab dividers read: meds, labs, dr notes, cy sum, contacts & research. "cy sum" is current year summary. Behind research I put high level information and websites. Notes comes in handy when I need to refer back and say, "you said..." or "she said". The A-Z tabs take up too much space for me, so I have a sheet for each doctor, lab facility, hospital, pharmacy, etc behind the contacts tab.

    I carry a pdf and hard copy of his total "medical resume" with me always so the filofax brings the detail behind the sheet I hand out at each appointment.

    The filofax is an incredibly powerful tool for me. Couldn't make it a week without it. :-)

  11. Mare thank you so much for sharing how you use your Filofax to manage your son's medical details. And, that is an excellent idea to use a "medical CV" summary sheet to give to new doctors! I'm sure they appreciate your being so organized because it saves so much time and energy (and money) not having to repeat tests etc. I'm sure your son is much better off for your efforts, and it helps you keep it all straight too! Thank you. :)