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Little Book Offers Simple Improvement in Medical Record-Keeping

Amid a cascade of complex proposals for digitizing medical records, a little leather-bound book offers a simple way to improve communication with healthcare providers.

My Diary for Life – a pocket-size personal health diary – is one man’s contribution to medical record-keeping and improved healthcare outcomes.

Born of publisher Larry Cunningham’s long history of family health crises, the compact medical diary organizes the information individuals, families and their doctors need to make better healthcare decisions.

“My father died from lung cancer and other complications, then one of my brothers was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Cunningham says. “We found ourselves scrambling to piece together a family medical history, but it was very difficult. My Diary for Life grew out of this situation.”

“I realized that when we face a health crisis and need to understand and address potential risk factors, we rely too much upon ‘official’ sources – insurers, hospitals, doctors’ offices — or upon our own faulty memories,” Cunningham says.

It didn’t take long for him to see that the diary encourages proactive healthcare.

By the time two more of his brothers were later diagnosed with prostate cancer and another brother developed colon cancer, the diary was part of his family’s life. Then his daughter had scoliosis, and in 2007 his wife was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

“But all of their illnesses were detected early, thanks to regular screenings and a greater awareness of risk factors promoted in My Diary for Life.”

The diary makes it easy to stay on track with checkups and treatment options.

“In some instances, it can even save your life,” says Cunningham. “With your medical and family history at hand, it’s much easier to talk with your physician, pharmacist, dentist or a family member.”

The booklet is organized into two major sections – one for personal and family medical history, and one for doctor and hospital visits and health data, including logs for weight, height, cholesterol, blood pressure, allergies, and eye and dental exams. Cunningham has also included a schedule of checkups and age-appropriate health screenings for men and women originally published by the Men’s Health Network - A medication log is printed on a removable card.

The diary can also be used to log children's medical and health information from birth.

About the size of a checkbook, the $12.95 diary fits into a pocket or purse.

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