Can a Spreadsheet Save Your Life?

Spreadsheet with the power to save lives, your life!
“Time is Muscle”, “Time is Brain”

Cardiologists say,  “Time is Muscle”.  The more time it takes to address a Cardiac issue results in long term heart tissue damage and yes, maybe death.

Neurologists say, “Time is Brain”. Similarly, The longer to a stroke results in increased brain damage and yes, maybe death.

It has to do with one of the first questions asked by Doctors Offices, Emergency Room staff, and First Responders.
The all-important question…What Medications are you taking?

I just witnessed this, this past weekend when my elderly neighbors dog was barking oddly.  The Neighbor had fallen on hard surface and I called 911.  Responders spent almost as much prepping patient for the trip as they did gathering medication information from several slips of paper and taking her weekly Med dispensers. However, they asked Questions on the phone and on arrival to rule out Stroke or Hear as the cause of the fall

When your health is in crisis, you may not be able to

respond. Your loved one may be too stressed to remember and it’s also the wrong time to gather the pill bottles from the medicine cabinet.  For all emergencies, including heart and strokes, precious minutes can mean the difference between Death, Survival and full or near full recovery.  Having a medication list and significant history available or not, can save those minutes or cost a loved one’s life.

So, what does this have to do with a spreadsheet?  Creating a medication list in a spreadsheet and having it with you can save time in those critical moments.  Doctors need to know what you’re taking to ensure you don’t end up with too much of a drug, give you a drug known to have adverse reactions to what you take, or if your allergic to medication to name a few.

Ever since my first experience, my mother in-law spent far too much time with the ER nurse before seeing a doctor because we were trying to figure out her medications.  Since then,  I have prompted all my, friends, loved ones and

“Mended Hearts” patients I visit to create, maintain and have ready somewhere a “Medlist”.

Other than the first long and stressful wait and my neighbor (fractured hip, got a pin and doing well) , I don’t have a personal horror story to share where having the list made the difference between life and death.  All I can say is, too often we needed to use the list and fortunately we sailed through the ER Triage, saw a doctor and got quick treatment.

Someday soon your prescription drugs will be available automatically. For example,  in an office environment Modernizing Medicine’s medical office software products can download your medication list directly from most pharmacies.  I don’t know if such technologies are available at hospitals yet but even still they are unlikely to have your history, a list allergies, supplements, or Over the Counter medications you take.

Be your own best healthcare advocate:

  • Be your own Medical Records Manager!
  • Create and maintain the list (for yourself, spouse, parents….)
  • Keep a copy near the front door to take to the ER or give to responders
  • Travelling keep a copy on you, In your luggage, brief case (if you still carry one), I also saved a copy as a .pdf file and emailed it to myself and wife.
  • Have a hard copy available for doctor visits. Many, if not most, have your list in their Electronic Medical Records and you can use the PDF on the phone to review and confirm.

What about the Spreadsheet? There are several ways to do it. Use any available spreadsheet tool to create the list.  From my experience the format shown below has worked great for going to a new doctor, existing doctor and at the ER.

The medlist should contain:

  • Your name and date updated (to help make sure your using the current copy)
  • Your Pharmacy, Name, address, phone. (when you need something called in….its in your chart.
  • List of drugs your allergic to or have had bad reactions to (preferably in RED)
  • Lust of medications you take, who prescribed, strength, how often you take them and for what condition
  • Any OTC medications, Vitamins and/or Supplements
  • Immunizations, important for children and adults, date of last Tetanus, Flu, Pneumonia, Shingles…..
  • Your Doctors, Name, Specialty, Phone and fax numbers
  • Finally, Important and/or recent or past diagnosis, tests, hospitalizations

Yes,  a Spreadsheet can reduce the time to get critical care to a loved one or your self and hopefully help prevent the worst possible outcome and Save a Life?  Start a Spreadsheet med-list for someone today

8 Replies to “Can a Spreadsheet Save Your Life?”

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