Tools to Help Organize Your Thyroid Bloodwork and Careby Mary Shomon Patient Advocate
Managing your thyroid treatment involves periodic thyroid blood testing. Along with symptoms, your test results help you and your doctor determine the best dose of thyroid hormone replacement or antithyroid medication. Tracking your test results and symptoms is, therefore, an important part of ensuring you get the best possible care. Here are some tips and tools to help you organize your thyroid blood-test results, and track your symptoms and healthcare information.
Organize your paper files
The simplest way to keep track of your blood-test results, other medical records, and paperwork is in paper form. Some tips to help:
- Keep your blood-test results and paper files in chronological order.
- Separate your information — blood test results, health insurance claims forms, etc. — by color-coding them, or keeping them in separate tabbed sections of a binder.
Use a spreadsheet program
If you want to keep track of your blood-test results electronically, one simple approach is a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. You can set up columns for test dates, reference range, test results, medication dosages, and other relevant information. A spreadsheet is also helpful for tracking symptoms. Set up columns for date, symptom, and rate of severity from 1 to 10.
Use a word-processing program
Another simple approach to keep track of your blood-test results and other health information is a word processing or note-taking program. You can set up tables to include notes for appointments, and other relevant data. Ideally, you should keep information chronologically. You can also include the filenames for electronic files or scans of any paper documents. Organize electronic folders by category — blood tests, claims forms, etc. — and be sure to include the date in each filename.
Keep a health journal
In some cases, a health journal can be helpful. You can keep track of your blood test results, symptoms, food and diet, level of exercise, amount of sleep, water consumed, and other key factors. You can keep a health journal freehand on paper, get a pre-printed journal such as the MemoryMinder Personal Health Journal, use a word processing program on your desktop, or use a notepad or calendar program on your smartphone.
Use a “Personal Health Record” (PHR) program
One way to organize blood-test results and medical information is with a personal health record (PHR) program or app. These apps/programs allow you to integrate data with most hospitals, doctors' offices, laboratories, health insurers, and pharmacies. Two popular and free PHR management programs/apps are Microsoft HealthVault and WebMD Health Manager. You can also try CareSync, which offers a free basic version, as well as a fee-based upgraded version.
Carry a medical ID emergency card or summary
While you may not want to keep your blood test results in this way, it is important to carry key health information with you on a medical ID card or summary. You can purchase a pre-printed medical ID card to fill out and carry in your wallet or purse. Be sure to include:
- emergency contact
- blood type
- your organ donor status
- health conditions
- current medications
Use a specialized program or app
You can keep track of your blood-test results and graph them using a phone/tablet app for Apple IOS called Blood Test Tracker.
There is also a specialized Thyroid Tracker program and app that tracks thyroid-specific blood test results on your desktop computer, IOS tablet, or smartphone.
The BoostThyroid IOS app functions is a health journal that tracks diet, exercise, medications, supplements, and key symptoms of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Use a lab that provides electronic test results
Use a program/app from your health insurer or HMO
Many health insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) have their own PHR apps for policyholders or members. Kaiser Permanente, for example, has an app that lets you access:
- Deliver and store blood test results
- Email messages to and from your providers
- Make, reschedule, and cancel appointments
- Receive appointment reminders by text or email
- Prescription drug list, order refills
It’s essential for optimal thyroid care to remember to take your thyroid medication at the same time every day. If you have difficulty remembering your pills, consider using an app for your smartphone or Apple Watch, such as MediSafe Pill Reminder, or Pill Reminder — All in One. You can also use a pre-packaged pharmacy service like PillPack, which fills your prescriptions by mail-order, and packages them in individual packets by date and time.