The one-page health summary

The A-S-C-E-N-D framework, created by Karen Knops, MD, helps you make the most of a visit to your physician. Read the first blog post of the series, “A” for Anticipation: Tips to prepare for your doctor’s visit. The post “S” for Summarize: How to begin your medical visit suggests bringing along a one-page health summary. Here’s how to create one.

by Karen Knops, MD

A single page summary of one’s health history can be a great tool, especially if you or your loved ones see many different providers or have a complex history, or are in the hospital for a prolonged period.  Offering this written summary to a new provider can help them focus less on writing or typing and more on YOU.

Print out or photocopy your summary before your visit and write any visit-specific information on the back, such as a timeline of your symptoms, test results or data you’d like to discuss, and list of concerns.  If you or your loved one is hospitalized, use the Tell Me More page as a cover for a folder containing copies of your summary.

Things to consider:

  • A short introductory paragraph about your overall health and function, who you live with, and humanizing details such as your profession, passions, and pets.
  • Challenges you face in medical encounters – hearing loss, a preferred language other than English, memory difficulties, or a history of trauma related to medical care
  • List of diagnoses, ideally with timing of when you were diagnosed and when/if the issue resolved
  • List of prior surgeries
  • List of providers caring for you, including complementary services, like acupuncture
  • List of medications with doses and how often you typically take them.
  • List of supplements
  • Allergies and the type of reaction
  • Family history of major illnesses
  • Your emergency contact, and/or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Answers to FAQ that have been asked of you in the past.
  • A recent photo

Read “S” for Summarize: How to begin your medical visit.