Amazing how the smallest gestures net the greatest impact. This is particularly true for chronic pain patients jostling for credibility in the precious few minutes of a physician encounter. Patient advocate Miss Barby Ingle has a suggestion: offer a meticulously laid out one-pager detailing the medical history.
Unlike traditional medical records, this one-pager doesn’t just include the medical history or medications taken. It includes the names of other physicians who can vouch for the patient and other references that patients can use to garner credibility. For those fortunate enough to have never presented with pain to a clinical encounter, it may seem odd to put such effort into building credibility. But for chronic pain patients, credibility is everything.
It’s the difference between receiving sufficient care and being ignored. Sure clinical tests and imaging studies can verify most diagnoses. But we only verify what we initially choose to believe. Belief comes from credibility. Those lacking lived experiences miss that.
With the guidance of Miss Barby Ingle, we compiled a brief list of items to include in this one-pager. We also provided the link to a template that can be used by any chronic pain patient who decides to create his or her one-pager.
Start with basic medical information and then add details based on your unique medical needs.
List all current medications with specific doses. Also include how long you’ve taken the current medication regimen. Duration is important. It helps to include previous medications, when you stopped them, and why they didn’t work. This would help in situations where a provider might try to switch you onto different medications without your consent.
Include a list of allergies with the specific reaction. We’ve all heard of situations where patients would say they have an allergy only to be ignored. Documenting the specific allergic reaction helps to combat any potential disbelief.
Provide a comprehensive medical history. Details matter here. Most medical records list the medical history as tersely as possible. This list should do the opposite.
Include any complications that might have arisen as a result of that medical history. This is important for surgical history. Detailing the type of surgery, the anesthesia needed, and the presence of any complications would avoid snapshot overgeneralizations by new providers meeting you for the first time.
List the physicians or mid-level providers who were and are currently treating you. Include specific names of doctors and nurses because they’re your references. Add their contact information in case you need to request someone to vouch on your behalf.
Also include family members and specific advocates who are familiar with you and your medical history. Share their contact information as well. These emergency contacts can vouch on your behalf and ideally should be available upon notice. If a dispute ever arises regarding your medical history or current medication regimen, then instinctively call these individuals. They should speak on your behalf as quickly as possible. Never argue with people who you suspect distrusts you. Even if you’re right, they’ll find a way to make you look wrong.
Include an exhaustive list of all clinical encounters. Don’t miss anything. Add emergency visits, scheduled appointments, surgeries, procedures, and specialty consultations. Describe how those encounters went. Make sure you state which encounters didn’t go well. This is important. It shows how you track everything. And if the current encounter isn’t going as intended, then the health providers on the other side know it’ll be noted.
Documentation is a funny thing in medicine. It fosters credibility and you’ll finally feel heard. Try it. Go to a clinical encounter without any documents and then go to one with your newly created one-pager in hand. The difference will be profound.
You may be questioning how you could type all this in one page. Luckily, Miss Ingle provided her template to serve as a model for you to create your one-pager. Share any comments below if you believe we missed something. Together we can empower each another to make the most out of a patient encounter.
You can find the template at the following link.
Bio: Barby Ingle is a reality personality with multiple rare and chronic diseases. Barby is a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, motivational speaker, and best-selling author on pain topics. Her blog, modeling, reality shows articles and media appearances (more than 2000) are used as a platform to help chronic and rare disease communities. She presents healthcare from the patient’s perspective, speaking publicly, sharing her story, and educating and advocating for patients across the globe. She has received over 30 awards for her advocacy efforts over the past few years. You can follow her at www.barbyingle.com, Insta/FB @BarbyIngleOfficial, Twitter @BarbyIngle