Suggestion regarding documentation

SGT Bob

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#1
While it is likely that many of you are already doing this, I would like to suggest that you scan ALL of your paperwork, save it on your computer and organize it into files by issue and date. Once that's done, make a back-up copy on a flash drive that you have for your MEB papers only. Then place that flash drive in a safe deposit box at your bank and only take it back out when you have a large volume of papers to add. Perhaps once a quarter or twice a year would be good. An alternative would be to use an online back-up service (which I also do for my MEB files and everything else important too) but that can get more costly than a small safe deposit box which you can often get for free if you have a good account with your bank.

If you have a very large volume of paperwork, I would suggest that you break it all down to separate files just like you would do on a computer and then scan them yourself or just take them to a Kinko's or Office Max type store. They usually have high speed scanners there that will make short work of your pile of papers. It cost me over $50.00 to get my initial batch done but I think that is nothing compared to the importance of these documents.

I have done this with mine and it has insured that I will never lose anything. You may want to do the same.

Jason, if you agree, please pin this thread so that it will help people for years to come. :)
 

Jason Perry

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#2
Done!

I do not know that any particular method is better than another in the big picture, but for me, having records available in electronic format is preferable. (There are many reasons, including the ability to search documents, convert to readable text- which makes quoting/cutting and pasting excerpts easy, and being able to send to others). Many of these factors become more important when dealing with many hundreds or thousands of pages.
 

Sascha Roberson

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#5
What I have done is saved everything on my laptop at home and copied everything to a disk and keep it in a fireproof lock box as well as an external harddrive. That way I have several places that i can get fast access to it if I need too. I check the files every so often too make sure they are not corrupted.
 

DRUM WT

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#6
I love it! I'm going to start tomorrow. I have been driving around with a plastic file cabinet in my trunk of my car ( seriously) because I couldn't think of a better way. If anything happened to that file cabinet I would loose all my documents! Great idea SGT Bob!
 

ranger2992

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#7
You have probably seen the commercials for the "neat scanner". I ended up buying on of those and it is awesome. It took me less than two hours to copy 14 years of medical records. We also use it for receipts, bills and anything we need to scan. They are a bit pricey, but worth it. The difference between this and a $99 scanner is huge. With a normal scanner, you have to load, or open the top for each document. With the neat, I throw a whole stack of stuff in the hopper and let it rip. It also defaults to a PDF file instead of a pic. Lastly, it loads everything into a database that you can search with keywords.

Sorry if it sounds like an advertisement. I just feel strongly about how much this thing did for me.
 

DRUM WT

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#8
You have probably seen the commercials for the "neat scanner". I ended up buying on of those and it is awesome. It took me less than two hours to copy 14 years of medical records. We also use it for receipts, bills and anything we need to scan. They are a bit pricey, but worth it. The difference between this and a $99 scanner is huge. With a normal scanner, you have to load, or open the top for each document. With the neat, I throw a whole stack of stuff in the hopper and let it rip. It also defaults to a PDF file instead of a pic. Lastly, it loads everything into a database that you can search with keywords.

Sorry if it sounds like an advertisement. I just feel strongly about how much this thing did for me.
OMG ranger2992! You were the one who told me about the file cabinet! See you Sunday night at the poker game! Small world...great to see you helping others even after you were retired. You are a stand up guy! I guess my anonymity just got blown!
 

ranger2992

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#9
The filing cabinet worked wonders for me while I was running around. The neat scanner was like icing on the cake. I'd still use the filing cabinet, because it gives quick access. I'll send you a PM
 

SGT Bob

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#10
I love it! I'm going to start tomorrow. I have been driving around with a plastic file cabinet in my trunk of my car ( seriously) because I couldn't think of a better way. If anything happened to that file cabinet I would loose all my documents! Great idea SGT Bob!
You're welcome! I would also suggest keeping those hard copies somewhere safer than your car trunk. If the car gets stolen or is involved in an accident, you could lose it all or some dirtbag could get his/her hands on them and try to steal your identity.
 

YellowHammer

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#12
I did something similar and scanned all of my records into PDF files. Then I was able to use "Microsoft OneNote" to make them all searchable. I used the searchable feature to "prepare" for my C&Ps and took a binder with relevant medical records to my exam. The examiner said the binder was a big help to tracking down dates & exact wordings for my C&P.

Can't say if it helped me out or not (have not received ratings yet), but after reading the C&Ps most of the specific details (highlighted portions of AHLTA notes etc) that I wanted notated in my exam made it into the report.
 

peasoup

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#13
I did something similar and scanned all of my records into PDF files. Then I was able to use "Microsoft OneNote" to make them all searchable. I used the searchable feature to "prepare" for my C&Ps and took a binder with relevant medical records to my exam. The examiner said the binder was a big help to tracking down dates & exact wordings for my C&P.

Can't say if it helped me out or not (have not received ratings yet), but after reading the C&Ps most of the specific details (highlighted portions of AHLTA notes etc) that I wanted notated in my exam made it into the report.
Hi, I was wondering what method you used to organize your med file binder. Because you had the OneNote, did you organize by condition? Or date? Some of my papers mention more than one condition, so I am note sure how to file them. Thanks!
 

Shay's Red

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#14
I have two different types of files for medical records. I do the electronic file and the binder method. The initial description of how to save to a jump drive is incredibly valuable, and I wholeheartedly agree. I fully intend to copy my jump drive this week to put a copy in the safety deposit box.

Within the jump drive itself, I have it broken down further. There is a chronology folder, for four different types of general chronologies (surgeries, new dx, changes in treatment, and birth to date issues). Each chronology references medical records or places of treatment with a date. It doesn't go into great detail about the changes, but the condition folders do. Each condition has a folder with a document with a chronology for that condition that is more in depth stating who all has been seen for that condition, with corresponding page numbers. Then there will be copies of the corresponding medical records. This does duplicate the location of some of the medical records as the primary care doctor will address several issues, but it is easier to remember knees than who WAMC is.

The binder method I have set up uses 5 inch binders labeled Birth to Enlistment, Enlistment to Present 1, 2, etc, and when he is finally discharged or retired I will hopefully just have to go by sets of years. The binders are delineated by condition, medical provider, and alphabetically. There is a table of contents in the front, and tabs to move quickly to surgery notes, and most recent lab results.

I have considered using a cloud source, but I'm not sure which one is the best option right now.
 

siestasundance

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#15
This is what I have been doing for the last couple of months, scanning and filing all my documents electronically in files/folders it appears over time the Army and VA ask for documents and I send them in and 2 to 6 months months later they ask basically for the same documents again. So far this has helped a couple times, and I agree about saving and storing a 2nd copy outside the home, wether it is in the bank or another familys members house for back up.

I wish I had the skills to input the titles into excel and have hyperlinks to retrive the documents.