Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tassey, Mary Ann. Medical Records Journal: Your Personal Medical History.

Dorrance Publishing Co.. 2010. c77p. ISBN 978-1-4349-0549-9. $11.00. ISBN 978-1-4349-7058-9 (pdf e-book). $6.00.

Many people agree that it’s a good idea to keep track of your health records and those of your family members, if you are a caregiver or likely to become one. These medical records are called personal health records (PHRs) and they are distinguishable from those held by your doctors, which may be referred to as your medical records or electronic medical records (EMRs). You will want to have copies of your personal health records and those of the people for whom you are or are likely to become a caregiver for a variety of reasons, not limited to: perhaps you or a family member will change doctors, move, get sick while on vacation or traveling, and/or end up visiting an emergency room. If any of these situations occur and you have your personal health records and/or those of your family members with you, you and/or they may get faster, safer medical care. (Caroline Rea and Paul Lehnert, “Home Medical Records: Overview,” Updated May 1, 2008, Article on In her publication, Tassey, a resident of Weirton, West Virginia and the mother of seven children, created this “medical records journal,” so “everyone can keep his or her medical records and appointments together.” By means of her book, the author attempts to help individuals compile and/or create their personal health records. Tassey’s publication is divided into two parts. In the first section, she features general information on good health and disease prevention. She covers the top three “killers” (p. v) of Americans—i. e. cancer, heart disease, and stroke—the causes of these killers, who is at risk for them, and ways to avoid them by staying physically fit, eating carefully, and taking preventive measures. She presents some, but not all, screening guidelines as well as information on cholesterol, blood pressure, the food pyramid, metabolism, and vitamins. In the second part, Tassey includes forms that can be used to compile a personal health record, which she calls a “medical records journal” or “personal medical history.” She sets forth forms for keeping track of doctors’ visits, medical tests, and prescriptions. Most forms are seemingly tailored for medical specialists but a few are generic. Each form is labeled Cardiologist, Family Practitioner, Gynecologist, Neurologist, Oncologist, Opthalmologist, Orthopedic, Pediatrician, Urologist, or Physician. Each form leaves room for compiling the doctor’s name and contact information, testing information (type, date, location, result), general notes for testing, medications prescribed (name, date, dosage), and general notes. While Tassey’s book evidences her thoughtful effort at helping readers compile their personal health records (PHRs) or those of others, there are many ways in which it needs to be improved. Firstly, the author needs to include a one- page form that enables individuals to summarize their health information so that it can be disseminated easily and/or copied and carried with persons. This summary form should contain information pertaining to the individual’s emergency contact(s), primary care physician, health insurance, health problems, medications, allergies, family medical history, health care agent(s), and more. Secondly, Tassey needs to provide a comprehensive chart that sets forth screening and immunization guidelines for all age groups. The author needs to better document and present her publication by providing footnotes/endnotes as well as a glossary, bibliography, and index. The first part of Tassey’s book on health and disease is too short and incomplete. It should be expanded and reformatted with numbered, clearly delineated chapter headings. Many of this publication's forms have more than one page number on them. This book needs to be repaginated with incorrect page numbers removed. Finally, Tassey needs to recommend that readers obtain copies of their medical records from their doctors. She needs to include chapter(s) and/or appendix(ices) on the types of more extensive personal health records that readers should keep and how they can do this. Of interest to general readers, this publication may be of limited use to some individuals, but is not recommended for most library collections for many reasons, several of which are described above. Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.. Availability: Amazon, Dorrance Bookstore