Easy Options for Creating a Personal Medication List – with Free Printable
The first time my dad went to the hospital, it was easy to talk about his medications, because he wasn’t on any. He took vitamins, and he was able to easily recite what they were and how often he took them. As his medical situation got more complicated, neither one of us could repeat it from memory, especially during a stressful ER visit. It was time to get organized or risk forgetting something important at just the wrong time.
Enter the medication list. It’s a summary of what you’re taking, when, and why. It’s a really effective tool for communicating with medical staff. Hospitals and doctors often have electronic health records (EHRs), and that helps, but don’t rely on the EHR to be accurate. Those records include medications you may have only taken once or medication you no longer take. Doctors and nurses will need your help in interpreting what the records say. As you may have experienced, they are trained to verify what their electronic records say. Over and over again, in fact. Each time you talk to them, too.
If you create a personal medication record, you can just hand it to them, read it to them, or use it to quickly double check what they already have recorded in their system. You can also share it with others who might be by your side in an emergency.
Here are some ideas for putting your medication list together:
Create a Medication List: The “No Tech” Option
You can create your own medication with paper and pen. Your medication record should include:
- Name of the medication
- Form (pill, injection, etc.)
- Frequency (daily, monthly, every 90 days, etc.)
- Time of Day
- Reason (what it’s for / why you’re taking it)
- Prescribing Doctor’s Name
Create a Medication List: The “Low Tech” Option
If you prefer to have an electronic version, you can use any note taking or office software to create your own, using the list above as a guide for information to include. Don’t forget to share it with your healthcare power of attorney and anyone else who is likely to be by your side in an emergency.
If you’d like a reusable, printable medication list, you can download a Personal Health Record Starter Kit below. This includes a medication list template an allergy and drug sensitivity list template.
These forms are part of the Health section of Life in Motion, a guided workbook which walks you through the process of creating a complete personal health record so you can document your medical conditions, insurance information, health care providers, and more.
Create a Medication List: The “High Tech” Option
For those who have a lot of medications to manage, or a chronic condition that requires daily tracking, I recommend using an app which will support tracking as well as reporting. There are dozens and dozens of them, many of which are free. I tried several apps and the two I liked best are:
This app’s specialty is medication management, with some education and sharing tools built in. It’s a great, free app that allows you to import your prescriptions from CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart (or enter them on your own, of course.) It’s easy to set reminders, which are well integrated with phone notification features (though I didn’t like the “pill rattle” sound that is used for the alert!) There are also good tools for tracking blood glucose, blood pressure, or other measurements. Printing and sharing features aren’t very slick, but they work. While the key features of the app are free, there is an upgrade path to a paid version to get features like medication management for multiple family members.
CareZone is an app that is more geared toward care management so medication management is one of several features it offers. Like Medisafe, it offers medication reminders, measurement trackers, sharing, and printing. It’s also free. This app did the best job integrating with phone features like the camera for scanning prescriptions, and contacts for selectively importing contacts to save having to re-enter information you already have on your phone. CareZone also offers services like pharmacy refill services and insurance recommendations. You’re not obligated to use either of these services to get value from the app or the features available, but that does seem to be how they intend to make money over time (versus charging for using the app itself.)
Whether you choose to go “no tech”, “low tech”, or “high tech” for getting your medication record documented, the key point is to get your medication information consolidated and in a format you can share with others involved in your care. It could save valuable time and stress in an emergency!
Personal Health Record (Editable PDF)
Buy the Personal Health Record Starter Kit in editable PDF format to:
- Avoid mistakes with clearly printed forms
- Quickly update when things change
- Easily save and share important medical information with others
DescriptionThe Life in Motion Personal Health Record Starter Kit includes:
- Medication Record fillable form
- Allergies / Drug Sensitivities fillable form
- BONUS Medical Conditions fillable form
About the Author
Karen Purze is the author of Life In Motion: A Guide for Gathering Life’s Vital Details, a workbook to help people get their affairs in order. She blogs about end-of-life and emergency planning at lifeinmotionguide.com.