Medical history can be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but every provider needs every piece in order to help you

January 4 – When it comes to your health, it’s important all your providers have all your information.

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM for Medical Matters.

Continuity of care is important for all people.

Sommer said, “As we start the New Year and everybody as the year starts over, your health care doesn’t start over, it continues. What’s important is that you always have the information available to any provider that you see just so that all your providers are in the loop and there isn’t a delay in care.”

Your health history is incredibly necessary for any doctor you see.

Sommer said, “Once you’re a patient of ours, we have a piece of your health history, always. Even if you’re traveling and something happens and you have to seek emergency care somewhere else, it’s important that you tell that provider all about your medical history and what procedures you’ve had done if it’s related to what you’re seeking treatment for elsewhere. That way when you do come back to us, then we know where you were so we can get that information.”

When you go to a doctor there are items you should bring with you.

The first is identification, which would be a driver’s license, a passport or some type of formal ID.

Sommer said, “I can’t tell you how many people come in to see us and they don’t have an ID. That’s scary to me. God forbid you are knocked unconscious somewhere, somebody would need to know who you are.”

Insurance cards are also needed.

Sommer said, “If we see you and you don’t have your insurance card or you don’t give us an updated insurance card, you may end up with a big bill. It also could be a delay in your care. First of the year a lot of times employers change insurance or they are issued a new number. It’s really important you bring those two pieces of information to every doctor’s appointment you go to.”

The list of medications and known allergies are also important for a doctor to know.

Sommer said, “A lot of patients just assume we can access the pharmacy and yes, sometimes I could call one of the pharmacies in town, but they are also very busy. So they’ve got to look through your profile and when you ask them to look through your profile, they’re pulling up every medicine you’ve had refilled for the last however many years you’ve been going there.”

If you’re having surgery, it’s critical to know what medications you are on.

Sommer said, “Our surgeons, they need to make sure that they know everything that’s going on with you.”

It also helps to know the different providers you see so everyone can share information.

An emergency contact is also needed during a doctor’s visit.

Sommer said, “It’s always good in case of an emergency to have somebody else to call on your behalf if we need to get in touch with you. I’ve noticed over the last couple of years in medicine in general, people just skip that part and they don’t write anything. If we can’t get in touch with you, who else could we get in touch with to get in touch with you?”

The patient is the one in the driver’s seat on this journey and missing pieces can affect the overall expedition.

Sommer said, “A lot of times a patient will tell me something and they just assume I was able to tell the doctor what they said. So as a patient, just make sure you also address it with the providers, just so everybody’s aware.”

Mentioning your previous providers in another location can assure they get the information.

Sommer said, “One of our doctors is always on call, is always available, even after hours.”

Continuity of care in an outpatient setting can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Sommer said, “If something comes up that’s not a surgical issue, but we see something else is going on, it’s really good for us to tell your provider so they can help correct what’s going on. We always have a list of primary care providers. They’re are several in the community. It doesn’t matter how young you are. You have a pediatrician up until you’re 18. Once you’re 18, you still should find a doctor so they can keep track of your health.”

For more information on Key West Surgical Group, click here: