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Kick 2023 Off With a Healthy and Organized Start!

To me, the beginning of a new year signifies the start of a new chapter. New Year, New Me. Right?  It’s an opportunity to try to untangle some of life’s complications that added up  in the last few hectic months. But rather than tackling something overly lofty that can quickly become daunting, begin small by updating important health information, setting up the calendar, and organizing the family’s medical details. I find that it’s a great way to start the year with that satisfying feeling of preparedness, stability, and completeness. It’s usually a fairly easy win. A successory. Today, let’s talk about ways to organize your family’s health info, so you and yours are sure to get the most appropriate and comprehensive care in any medical situation.


There are a few critical pieces of information that need to be readily accessible at home. These include the direct contact information (phone and address) for all family members’ primary care doctors, trusted emergency contacts, and closest emergency facilities (urgent care and hospital). Think of this as your family’s local health support network. I suggest displaying this in a place that is common and visible, such as the kitchen fridge, attached to the inside of a cabinet, or a family message board. It should be legible and clear, so that anyone, including young children and guests, can read it if necessary. 

Family Member Health Files

Setting up and regularly updating health files for all members of the family is a great way to ensure that all important information is easily accessible, which can help guide medical decision making. It’s also generally great practice to stay up to date on one’s health situation, and it’s a useful lifelong habit to teach children. 

You can keep track of paper records in file folders or binders or organize everything digitally in an app or a simple document. Even screenshots in a clearly labeled album on your phone can work, but make sure to set an album password for sensitive information. Create a separate space for each family member and keep things ordered chronologically with the most recent items first. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could keep records for the last 3 years handy. This system would create a complete health picture for each person. Include these items:

Annual Appointments 

Depending on the time of year and practice type, some appointment waiting lists can be lengthy. Don’t wait! Schedule all annual appointments now, at the start of the year. Not only will you be reserving a spot on the schedule, but you’ll also get an idea of your medical expense budget for the year and find out if the providers are still in your insurance network. Here are the offices you want to contact:

As you go through the list, make sure to mark the appointments in a calendar that is accessible to all members of the family and set up automatic reminders, if possible. You can also set this as a reminder on your mobile phone.

Opportunity to Learn

I said, start small, right? Ha. I’m laughing at myself as I write this, because this may seem like a lot. All of this might feel a bit overwhelming, but this start-of-year organization will save you loads of time and stress later. And the responsibility of going through these checklists shouldn’t rest solely on you. The practice of keeping all health information organized is incredibly important to learn at an early age, so feel free to include your children in the process, modeling ways to call a doctor’s office and discussing what the items in their health files mean. Not only will this result in quality time spent together, but it will also teach your children agency with regard to their own health.