The Non-Digital Health Record

(2 minute read plus tips – another 2 minute read)

Most people don’t know all their prescribed medication.

Most people don’t know all their supplements.

Most people believe that past medical problems are irrelevant.

Most people can’t remember all their allergies.

The digital health record as proposed in Australia is a serious mistake on security and cost criteria. I recommend that you opt out before it is too late. The reasons are given in these excellent reviews:

Why I’m opting out of the government’s digital health record and you should too

New name and opt-out policy won’t save the personal health record

There is a better solution.

The non-digital health record 

  1. Write these headings: current treatment, allergies, current problems, past problems
  2. Make a list under each heading
  3. One of your current problems should be “Ask about the other problems”
  4. Minimize the font/page (somewhere between credit card size up to A5 size)
  5. Keep it up-to-date
  6. Keep 2 or 3 copies in your wallet. Don’t put your name or address on it
  7. Give the list to any new medical or clinical attendant



Current treatment:

  1. Candesartan/Hydrochlorothiazide 32/12.5MG one daily
  2. Symbicort 200/6MCG one puff twice a day maybe 3 times a week
  3. Ventolin as needed
  4. Magnesium 600MG two daily when I remember


  1. Penicillin
  2. Morphine
  3. Metal jewellery
  4. Cats

Current Problems:

  1. Hypertension
  2. Atrial fibrillation sometimes
  3. Asthma
  4. Ask about the other problems

Past Problems:

  1. Car accident aged 18 fractured ribs
  2. Suspected TB treated by tablets for 6 months aged 25
  3. Appendicectomy aged 30
  4. Overactive thyroid 5 years in my 30s now OK
  5. Flu aged 40 then chronic fatigue 6 months


Ideally, use generic names for oral medication and trade names for sprays, puffers, drops, injectables. For example, Telfast is the trade name for an antihistamine in Australia, it’s known as Allegra in North America, and there are about 50 other trade names in the world, but the generic name fexofenadine is the same all over the world. The generic name is on the packet. Ask your pharmacist if unsure. But generic names for sprays, puffers, drops or injectables are often multiple and long. For example, the puffer Seretide has the generic name of fluticasone and eformoterol, rather clumsy, so you could just write Seretide. Use your discretion.

Always write the dose. There will be a dose for each active drug. For fexofenadine it might be 180MG. For Seretide it might be one of several, let’s say it might be 250/25MCG. Ask your pharmacist if unsure.

For alternative or herbal products, don’t accept a label called “Immune Booster”. You are paying good money. Ask for a print-out of the ingredients. If this is refused, walk away.

The ONLY person who knows exactly what treatment you are taking is YOU. Don’t write down what you were advised to take, write down what you are actually doing.

Don’t be happy with only knowing you are allergic to “an antibiotic”. Ask your doctors. Or ask the hospital

Don’t write an essay. No one will read it. Use one word up to a few words. And never more than one line per item.

“Ask about the other problems” gives you the option of informing the clinician, if you want, of more personal matters. These may be gender-based problems, infectious diseases, addictions, mental health issues. And you can also raise new issues.








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