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Putting Medical Records Into Patients' Hands

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the taking-your-life-in-your-hands dept.

Medicine 211

Hugh Pickens writes "Roni Caryn Rabin says patients have a legal right to their medical records, though access can prove difficult. But what would happen if patients were encouraged not just to see their medical records but to take them home, study them and really own them? A research collaboration called OpenNotes set out to answer this question, publishing the first results of a study on physician and patient attitudes toward shared medical records and demonstrating that for patients, at least, shared medical records seems to be an idea whose time has come. 'That's the great challenge in medicine: getting patients to be more active in their own care,' says Dr. Tom Delbanco, a principal investigator of the study. 'What we're doing is opening the black box and letting you look inside.' Dr. Delbanco and his colleagues recruited more than 100 primary care doctors who were already using electronic health records to volunteer to share their medical notes with patients. Patients were enthusiastic: 90 percent thought they would be more in control of their care if they saw the notes. They weren't worried about being confused and most said seeing the record would help them take better care of themselves helping them better remember their treatment plan, understand it and take their medication. The goal is to engage patients more fully in their own health. 'Knowledge is power,' says Jan Walker, the study's senior author. 'A patient goes to the doctor only once in a while, but in between visits, you're making all kinds of decisions that affect your health every single day.'"

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211 comments

Google Health (4, Interesting)

milgram (104453) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714924)

Why was Google not able to make this successful? Is it because people aren't interested in being accountable for their information?

Re:Google Health (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714992)

Yes, why wouldn't we want Google to be involved in storage of the world's medical records?

Re:Google Health (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715250)

We don't need Google here. All the EMR vendors have patient portals now through which you can see this type of information. Epic / MyChart is a good example. (But other vendors have something similar)

If your provider uses one of these systems, you can see your record online including test results and the notes your provider enters during/after your visit. There's even an iPhone app. I had an MRI and was able to read the radiologist's documentation on my phone.

Re:Google Health (2)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715574)

I think the goal here is to make it so patients can see this information regardless of the physicians' practice management system. Granted, it's very cool that some EMR systems will produce these records, but wouldn't it be even better if they could all produce a standard format that could be read by other systems and not in some proprietary format (as they all currently are, except maybe a few open systems like OpenEMR)? This way other medical providers, not just patients, could have access to ANY patients' chart without having to get a signed release from the patient (assuming they are conscious) and then having to wait for their primary care physician to fax the barely-legible records over. Imagine the time saved in an emergent situation if all this information was just a few clicks away.

Of course, any time data is widely available like this you run the risk of having it leaked or stolen, but it's really the inevitable solution and the company that comes up with the standard format and develops a way in which all these practice management systems can share their electronic records while providing reasonable security for transmitting and storing these records, is the company that will change the way medical information is shared and will ultimately save lives, whilst no doubt becoming very, very rich.

In America... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715840)

using electronic health records to volunteer to share their medical notes with patients

How much storage space will you need for that many pages of "you really need to lose weight"?

Does it come with a NAS?

Re:Google Health (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715612)

Yes. I'm not sure what axe the TFA is trying to grind.

“The medical record is information that really belongs to the patient, but it’s treated like a classified document,” said Susan B. Frampton, president of Planetree, a nonprofit organization based in Derby, Conn., that promotes patient-centered approaches to health care. “It’s symbolic of the power differential in health care.”

Really is bullshit. In the US you have an absolute right to a copy of your records. For a reasonable price. In my ER, we send tourists home with copies of all the relevant tests we do and a nice little CD of any radiographs. We'd send the dictation except that it hasn't been done by the time the patient leaves. The discharge instructions do have the phone and fax number of Medical Records and we generally encourage people to show the form to their local doc when they get home.

If you are at all interested in your health (which describes only a small subset of the patient population) it's not hard to get copies of everything.

Now, it's a bit disorganized, nobody is taking any pains to put it all together in one nice little product, but the entire system is rather fragmented.

Re:Google Health (3, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715882)

The EMR system I work with can print the whole thing out or store it as PDF on a CD. Requests are fairly commonplace, though most are made by legal entities rather than individuals.

Most people simply don't know that you can request it.

Re:Google Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715056)

Because let's face it, Google are nowhere near as smart as they make themselves out to be.

They can't even advertise their own services. An advertising company. Need I say anymore?
They can't even make the most sensible and realistic decisions about things in order to make a product successful. Rather, they'd bin it and let the open source community care about it.

In fact, you want to know who Google are? Google are Malcolm. Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle.
I'm not even kidding. They likeness is perfect. They suck terribly at doing anything right except a couple things, TERRIBLE with social relations. And when it comes to other companies? "here come work for us so we can take your stuff, shut you down a few months later, but have all this dosh will ya"
Goodbye Etherpad, Hello Messenger, to name a couple. Microsoft 2.0 indeed.

And now their recent efforts to kill off anything that isn't used by EVERYONE EVER shows that even more. And that includes a large number of things I used, and likely a good chunk of Slashdot used.
And then they done it. They crossed that line. They removed sidetabs from Chrome. Dead to me. DEAD!
Google are nothing but a moneymaker now. All the talent has left. All the innovation is dead. No more fun from Google. (unless you count spinning webpages as fun, ooo, CSS3)
Even Microsoft Research is good compared to what Google has now.

Re:Google Health (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715148)

You do know Malcolm was destined to go on to become POTUS right? The last episode really explains Lois' madness, shes a farseer.

Re:Google Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715660)

That doesn't really say much. There has been plenty of failures that have walked that role.
Malcolm would likely have ended up as one of those due to crippling socialitis.

Re:Google Health (2)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715396)

Why was Google not able to make this successful?

Nobody knew it existed.

Re:Google Health (1)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715708)

I'm sure Adam Bosworth is a nice guy and all, and is a very competent developer. But from what I understand, his claim to fame is being one of the pioneers of XML. That's nice and all; and from a storage perspective, it gives a company an approach to handling many different types of data. But from a clinical usability perspective, Bosworth and team simply didn't understand the needs of the patients or the marketplace. The UI of Google Health was, if possible, even worse than that of Centricity and Cerner. They simply had no idea what the UI challenges are of patient medical records; nor of the use cases and workflows between clinicians and patients.

The OSI 7 Layer Networking Model is very informative in this kind of product. Google Health was basically just a database layer technology. It had no presentation or application layer functionality. And a health record will live and die by it's presentation and application layers, because that's the UI by which the patient will interact with it.

Re:Google Health (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715872)

Why was Google not able to make this successful? Is it because people aren't interested in being accountable for their information?

No, that's not it. Here is what I heard from the grapevine.

Centralizing health records a high risk area for Google. There are many privacy implications that come with it. For very good reasons, people value the privacy of their medical records. And many people would just love to sue Google, if it were to ever make a mistake in that area. On one hand, Google has very deep pockets, so it already makes for a very large target. And on the other hand, since Google is deriving almost all of its revenue from advertising, Google is much less likely to be given the benefit of the doubt if it ever does make that kind of mistake.

And do what with them? (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714934)

Seriously, if patients take the records home with them, then what. I don't personally have any knowledge that would allow me to understand the records. Most folks probably don't know how to secure them properly.

Sure people do have the right to see those records, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they should be encouraged to take them home with them. Of course make it clear that they can look or take copies if they like, but encouraging it seems like a poor idea.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714964)

People will lose them ... or they'll be stolen. They are much safer when they're not in the hands of people who have no real use for them. Sure, there will be exceptions, and those people already have their medical records at their disposal.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715040)

The doctors I see all give me an after visit summary as I leave the appointment. It leaves out most of the things that aren't relevant to the appointment and mostly just contains information necessary to follow doctor's orders. Then there will usually be information about what to watch for and when to make a follow up appointment.

But, taking home the entire record or subset of it seems like a bad idea.

Re:And do what with them? (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715066)

They are much safer when they're not in the hands of people who have no real use for them.

What a remarkable statement to say. There are two obvious counterarguments. First, it's your health. Even if you can't understand much of it, you have a huge stake in what's in there and what you can understand may have significant health benefits for you. That's a big, real use of those records.

Second, I doubt it's that hard to make use of your own medical records. You don't have to have the extensive knowledge of a doctor in order to keep track of your problems. The knowledge problem is far more limited and you have a head start in understanding in that you are experiencing the medical conditions described in your medical report.

Re:And do what with them? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715254)

Yes, it's your health, but that doesn't mean a novice will be able to understand what the majority of the information means. The details are rabbits that many hypochondriacs will chase until they self-diagnose themselves into oblivion.

I don't need all the details of my medical history at my fingertips. I just need to follow the advice of my doctor. If I don't like their advice, or it's not successfully addressing a particular medical issue, I'll seek the advice of another medical professional (who will request a copy of my records). I know enough to know I'm not qualified to be a doctor (let alone my own doctor).

Re:And do what with them? (5, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715352)

Yes, it's your health, but that doesn't mean a novice will be able to understand what the majority of the information means. The details are rabbits that many hypochondriacs will chase until they self-diagnose themselves into oblivion.

So what? Doesn't sound to me like you're a hypochondriac (or at least one that can't manage their condition) and even if you were, I don't see how more medical information makes your condition worse than it already is.

I don't need all the details of my medical history at my fingertips.

Ignorance is bliss supposedly but it rarely turns out that way.

If I don't like their advice, or it's not successfully addressing a particular medical issue, I'll seek the advice of another medical professional (who will request a copy of my records).

And you'll know this how? Sixth sense? Your patron deity tells you what's going on? Chicken entrails? It takes knowledge to make decisions.Medical information is such knowledge.

I know enough to know I'm not qualified to be a doctor (let alone my own doctor).

Which is all a non sequitur since this story is not about you being a doctor much less your own doctor.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

rikkards (98006) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715504)

Mod parent up, it's hard to provide informed consent without actually being informed. Also the GP mentioned details being omitted that are not pertinent to the visit. My opinion is that I will decide what is needed and what isn't.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715926)

That's why you get a doctor you trust and ask lots of questions. I happen to have Gilbert Syndrome and there's really no reason why I even need to know about that, at least not unless I come into the doctor worried about jaundice.

I would venture to guess that most people have at least one or two of those sorts of conditions that are only really relevant when interpreting medical tests. You do need to listen to your body and advocate for yourself, but it's asking a lot to expect a lay person to come through a medical record and get anything useful out of it. The information you can actually make use of is only a small fraction of the total medical record. You know things like weight, blood pressure etc.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715322)

They are much safer when they're not in the hands of people who have no real use for them.

What a remarkable statement to say. There are two obvious counterarguments. First, it's your health. Even if you can't understand much of it, you have a huge stake in what's in there and what you can understand may have significant health benefits for you. That's a big, real use of those records.

Second, I doubt it's that hard to make use of your own medical records. You don't have to have the extensive knowledge of a doctor in order to keep track of your problems. The knowledge problem is far more limited and you have a head start in understanding in that you are experiencing the medical conditions described in your medical report.

Furthermore, as a parent, I have to keep my child's immunization record, and if I don't have it when registering my child for a new school, I'm in serious shit.

Anyone who is a parent is well aware of keeping medical records... we put our kid's record where we keep our passports and other "don't fucking lose this" papers.

Re:And do what with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715374)

The ARRA "health record" act fixes some of this by calling for a standardized Summary of Care containing a problem list, an allergy and medication list, and lab results.

By cutting out the cruft and extra material in the chart, it makes something that is both understandable and usable. The important parts of an inch-thick chart really do boil down to a few pages for just about every situation except a 10 year old malpractice suit that wants to know what the doctor ate for lunch after seeing the patient a decade ago.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715948)

My doctors have been doing that for years, or at least as long as I can remember which is at least a decade. In fact I can even go online and look those summaries up going back a couple years. The system works well and makes it a lot easier to remember what I'm supposed to be complying with.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715954)

Second, I doubt it's that hard to make use of your own medical records. You don't have to have the extensive knowledge of a doctor in order to keep track of your problems. The knowledge problem is far more limited and you have a head start in understanding in that you are experiencing the medical conditions described in your medical report.

Bingo. I am not a doctor, never went beyond freshman biology. But because of an experience involving caring for a relative, I know as much about endocrinology, and far more about the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis than general-practice physicians.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715094)

People will lose them ...

That's a red herring. Regardless of whether the patient has a copy, in most jurisdictions a physician by law has to keep medical records for many years, often 5+ years after the last treatment.

or they'll be stolen.

It's a risk, but there are many other important documents in the hands of the general public (passports, insurance policies, birth certificates, etc)

The big advantage is when you need to see another physician for whatever reason. Getting copies of your records from your physician is sometimes like pulling teeth, and often your physician will charge a ridiculous price to make a photocopy for you.

More than once my GP referred me to a specialist, and yet provided no relevant information to the specialist (MRI results, blood test results, etc). Since I had a copy of the relevant records, the specialist visit was far more productive that it would have been.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715306)

Get a better insurer. My insurance company shares all that information with relevant doctors electronically. When I went to the hospital unable to speak last year, they were able to get my records quickly using my health care card and find out what medications I was likely taking and who my GP was.

It does get tougher if you don't have an all in one provider, but with electronic records on their way, I think we'll be there at some point.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715236)

They'll probably be safer at people's houses than in the hands of the medical clinic staff. Remember this story about medical records [slashdot.org] being used as scrap paper at schools? There's countless others just like it. I don't see that this information shouldn't be required to be given to the patient on their request. They do have a legal right to the data, and shouldn't have to put up a big fight to get it.

Re:And do what with them? (1, Interesting)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715328)

People will lose them ... or they'll be stolen.

My records are worthless to anyone but me, so why the hell would anyone want to steal them? OK, there are all the friendly insurance companies, who want to ensure that I'm not stealing their God-given profits by hiding some pre-existing condition... but they already have better access to my information than I do.

You're trying to invent some reason why people should not have access to their own records, and failing miserably.

Re:And do what with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715456)

The problem is not THEIR access to your info, it's if the info you GIVE correlates to your medical records that THEY have access to.
If their is any difference, they may sit on it till you make a claim then void your insurance. ^_^

By having a copy of your own records you can give an accurate account of your medical history, lessening the chance the insurer will pull cover when you need it most.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715522)

I live in Italy. We can take home a copy of our medical records after we leave hospital. it's useful for showing them to other doctors, insurance companies or even lawyers if something goes wrong. most records are paper based but my xrays were on cds with a windows only viewer. It's a standard medical imaging format. I found a viewer for Linux too. I don't think it's a format mandated by the state, only a hospital specific initiative. But there is a law for the right of access to medical records, regardless of the format.

Re:And do what with them? (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714970)

Plausible deniability. Once you take your records home, your physician is free to sell them to anyone. If you discover a copy of your records out there in the wild and complain to your physician, he'll just say you must have lost control of your copy.

Re:And do what with them? (3, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715234)

The issue isn't when one medical file get sold by a doctor as a single file is useless. usually the problem is when hundreds of files are sold from the same doctor.
Plausible deniability goes away when a large number of records, more than the national average, from a single doctor get loose. Sorry but I doubt very much any doctor can legitimately claim that all those documents were lost by individual patients.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715650)

Plausible deniability goes away when a large number of records, more than the national average, from a single doctor get loose.

Between stuff like different attitudes toward security, different income levels (if you're poor are you going to buy either a home safe or safe deposit box?), different education levels, etc., I'd expect a fairly wide variation in the "probability you'll lose this" between different populations. I'd be very wary about jumping to conclusions about stuff like that.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715268)

Or the other way, you loose control of your document then your Dr. is in a ton of trouble.

Re:And do what with them? (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714976)

This is kind of what worries me.

The internet provides a great deal of medical information, however you still need someone with experience to relate it to a specific case. Patients trying to make sense of their own medical info combined with the amount of information out there (some good, a lot bad, some terrifying) may lead to some issues.

Re:And do what with them? (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715732)

The internet provides a great deal of medical information, however you still need someone with experience to relate it to a specific case.

The last few times we've visited a doctor we'd already done the research on the Internet and knew exactly what the problem was, so we had to wait around for hours just so the doctor could agree and sign the prescription.

Doctors should really only be dealing with cases where the cause isn't obvious.

Re:And do what with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715814)

My daughter had chicken pox a couple years ago. We took her to the urgent care clinic (it was a weekend) and the doctor comes in and announces "I'm bad with rashes, they all look alike to me." He literally Google searched an image of chicken pox rashes and compared the images on his phone to my daughter's skin.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715024)

How ever do you hold on to your birth certificate or SSN card then???

Re:And do what with them? (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715272)

Shred that stuff the moment it shows up. You don't want those documents getting into the wrong hands.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715656)

How ever do you hold on to your birth certificate or SSN card then???

I don't, and I've never had a problem. I've never been asked for a copy of my SS card. I lost the last one I had over forty years ago. When I last needed a copy of my birth certificate I ordered a copy from the state I was born in. Some documents I worry about, like my passport and insurance policies, and I keep those in a safe deposit box at a bank.

Re:And do what with them? (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715090)

Well, one thing they will certainly be used for is the basis of frivolous lawsuits - when that morbidly obese patient takes issue with his doctors notes on his "McDonalds addiction" and total lack of medical reason for the fact that he has size 60EE man boobs, guess where it's going to end up?

Here in Norfolk, UK, Doctors used to use two terms in medical notes up until the late 1990s (or even later - my wife still sees references to them in notes from 2003 or so), Funny Looking Kid and Normal for Norfolk. The terms refer to congenital issues found in children in the more remote parts of the county, where incest and small breeding stock is still having knock on effects today. The terms were banned after they became legal issues in cases after patients got hold of their notes.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715586)

Here in Norfolk, UK, Doctors used to use two terms in medical notes up until the late 1990s (or even later - my wife still sees references to them in notes from 2003 or so), Funny Looking Kid and Normal for Norfolk. The terms refer to congenital issues found in children in the more remote parts of the county, where incest and small breeding stock is still having knock on effects today. The terms were banned after they became legal issues in cases after patients got hold of their notes.

"FLK" is still used in the US, at least in conversations between doctors, perhaps not in the notes themselves.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715640)

Yeah, its still used in conversation here as well, just not put into writing :)

Re:And do what with them? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715738)

That's an issue with the doctor writing pejorative terms in the chart. If you look at really old records (like before we told people they had cancer) you would get verbiage that would make you freeze in your tracks.

Any doctor that writes "McDonalds addiction" in the chart deserves whatever hassle they get. It's stupid and unnecessary. Yep, there are docs that do that but not very many. And if you are their patient, you'd do well to understand where this clown is coming from and find a better doctor.

Re:And do what with them? (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715092)

I don't personally have any knowledge that would allow me to understand the records.

So what? You have the internet, a brain, and you're experiencing directly the medical conditions described in the records.

Re:And do what with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715424)

I don't personally have any knowledge that would allow me to understand the records.

So what? You have the internet, a brain, and you're experiencing directly the medical conditions described in the records.

Unfortunately, he would still be the most important part of all. Context, which only an experienced person can provide, and without which all the remaining internet knowledge, brain function, and personal experience is useless. Doctors aren't smarter than you, but they have more experience and context than any none physician could be expected to have.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715532)

Unfortunately, he would still be the most important part of all. Context, which only an experienced person can provide, and without which all the remaining internet knowledge, brain function, and personal experience is useless. Doctors aren't smarter than you, but they have more experience and context than any none physician could be expected to have.

So that's why you should have a doctor. I'm not telling anyone to throw away their doctor. If you could do that, then you don't need the medical records in the first place. Play doctor and make your own records.

Re:And do what with them? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715800)

your theme is good - THINK.

I may be an engineer, but I know B.S. when I see it. And the medicos of full of it. My wife has always been healthy. She started seeing physician after reaching 40 - and out came the 'treatments'. Went throung 5 years of increasing misery. Forced to stop medical 'care' when we both lost jobs. Was rapidly re-employed, but after several months noted she was returning to previosly healthy self. We are now over 50, neither, other than dental, has recieved med treatment for over 5 years and are doing good. Fuck you greedy incompetent doctors. Fuck you incompetent uncaring nurses. Fuck you bottom-line insurance companies. And Fuck You pharmacons.

Our only concern is cancer detection. But the odds are in our favor due to lifestyle and genetics. So we roll the dice.

Re:And do what with them? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715112)

I would like to have them just so I could go see a different doctor without the waste of re-testing and the hassle, inconvenience, and frankly, embarrassment of calling to have the records sent over.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715678)

You don't need to make a call. That's what signing a medical release is for: You go to the new doctor's office BEFORE your visit, sign a release, and the secretary there calls up anywhere you say you've been treated in the past and get all the records.

No muss, no fuss. No embarrassment of making calls yourself.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715182)

I don't personally have any knowledge that would allow me to understand the records.

Perhaps not, but what you do have is access to a massive, global repository of information, replete with search functions; Of course, if you're of the type who's too lazy to Google "cholecystectomy", you're probably not taking home copies of your medical records, either.

Most folks probably don't know how to secure them properly.

Yea, filing cabinets are pretty hard to come by these days, huh?

Sure people do have the right to see those records, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they should be encouraged to take them home with them. Of course make it clear that they can look or take copies if they like, but encouraging it seems like a poor idea.

Right, because if we encouraged people to be more involved in keep track of their own health and related records, doctors and hospitals would lose that edge they currently possess that allows them to charge exorbitant rates for routine procedures, prescribe boutique drugs that cost an arm and a leg to patients who don't really need them, and generally control not only people's perception of health, but the paperwork that actually details it... and who wants to live in that world?

I, personally, have never been of the type who would shy away from taking responsibility for myself, but YMMV.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715240)

Also, if they do have them, can you trust the information in them?
So say at the end of your visit you have a CCD (Community Care Document, the standard XML based format for sharing Medical Records across Electronic Medical Records)
What is there to stop me from altering my record to say that I really need those pain killers or "Pain Killers" in other states prescription refilled, or to prescribe me a higher dose, or heck the person is a hypercondreact<sp?> (Yes I got sick of trying to find the right spelling in Chrome) and they will add symptoms without the doctors consent?
What is needed is a secure and reliable method of sharing medical records across many organizations, not giving it to the person.

Re:And do what with them? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715824)

You come in with a document that says "takes 4 80 mg Oxycontin twice a day for back pain" and ask me for a refill, I am rather likely to check the veracity of the claim. You come in with a document that says you had your gall bladder removed, I just might believe you (but I'd look for the scar, if appropriate).

We're not that stupid.

Re:And do what with them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715908)

CCD (Community Care Document

That's Continuity of Care Document [wikipedia.org] . Not to be confused with CCR, the Continuity of Care Record [wikipedia.org] , the other (incompatible) standard XML-based format for sharing medical records.

And nothing stops you from editing either of them. There are various extra-vague provisions for document encryption and/or signing, but it's entirely unclear how this is supposed to work without some sort of massive PKI for providers (this is hard enough within a single corporation) so that you could both recognize that Dr. Feelgood isn't a real doctor and that his signature is fake.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

robbarrett (84479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715554)

Seriously, if patients take the records home with them, then what. I don't personally have any knowledge that would allow me to understand the records.

You're thinking way too small....

I would think one of the primary results of this would be the instant creation of a vast array of online services where one could upload the records and see them processed in a variety of way. I also expect that regulation of such services would be a nightmare, since the line between "processing" and "practicing medicine" would be extremely narrow. Security is obviously another issue. On the other hand, in many other areas there have been mechanisms for rating online services that have been at least somewhat successful in granting authority in reasonable ways.

Re:And do what with them? (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715856)

By that logic, open source projects should stop providing source code, too, since most people can't understand it anyway. No need to mention that source code is available - let people ask for it.

Re:And do what with them? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715942)

While you're at it, block people from obtaining their financial and legal records also, since they'll probably not do anything intelligent with those either.

Really, I'm mystified at the hostility. I was named in my grandmother's will, and the lawyer executor sent me all kinds of stuff that I'm sure an idiot would never figure out but a reasonably intelligent guy combined with google, pretty much figured out, and dang it, I should get a copy of the will.

Ditto the financial records, I don't see the hostility toward getting a bank statement.

The interesting thing, is in our corrupt kleptocracy, everyone important already has a copy of my records or can trivially obtain a copy of my records... so why not me?

Lets give this a /. flavor... What if everyone in the world could read the whois record for your domain registration except for yourself, and everyone tried to convince you if you could see your own whois domain registration info, you'd probably just F it all up anyway, so you're better off being seemingly the only human being on the planet without access to it.

Read the title too literally (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714958)

Thought maybe they were implanting chips with health records into patients' hands.

Could go both ways (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714990)

Mixed views on this one. I can see the reasons why it might be a good thing. I'm also conscious, however (having spent quite a lot of time around doctors back when I was doing summer work in a general surgery in the late 90s) that one of the big problems with giving patients too much information is that they will take it and - lacking medical training - use it to jump to the wrong conclusions, imagining all kinds of ailments that they just don't have.

Certainly, there are no end of cases of people looking up symptoms on the internet and deciding that they have a combination of ebola, bubonic plague and some obscure disease that only affected horses in 13th century Denmark, when in fact they have the flu. It wastes a lot of medical time and effort that would better be spent elsewhere.

That said, you do also hear the occasional stories of missed diagnoses of much more serious illnesses. Like I say - could go either way. I suspect that it would need to be accompanied by a lot of work on putting information into the appropriate context and providing advice on interpreting it, which could be expensive.

Re:Could go both ways (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715048)

Certainly, there are no end of cases of people looking up symptoms on the internet and deciding that they have a combination of ebola, bubonic plague and some obscure disease that only affected horses in 13th century Denmark, when in fact they have the flu. It wastes a lot of medical time and effort that would better be spent elsewhere.

Yup! As a personal rule I don't google my symptoms any more. If I'm that worried about something, I go see my doctor. The internet can turn a cough into congestive heart failure .. and because the craziest and scariest cases tend to float to the top, it is definitely not the place to reassure yourself that it's "probably nothing".

Finding more information about something you have, however, I think is still a valid use.. as long as you take everything with a metric tonne of salt, and talk to your doctor before doing anything. Even if it's not for your treatment, knowing more about something you have can be a good feeling.

Re:Could go both ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715198)

Man, I would never choose to be ignorant before doing anything if I had the choice. If I'm getting work done on my car, I read about it ahead of time. If I'm making a large purchase, I don't wait until I buy.
When something is wrong with me I see what the possibilities are. Then when you see a doctor, you can ask intelligent questions to understand and verify their work.

And really, I don't see the harm in asking your doctor something like: "How did you differentiate this from ebola?" Then you either learn something or, rarely, you catch a mistake. There really is no harm in asking even stupid questions.

Re:Could go both ways (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715402)

Certainly, there are no end of cases of people looking up symptoms on the internet and deciding that they have a combination of ebola, bubonic plague and some obscure disease that only affected horses in 13th century Denmark

This happens now anyway. Please stop trying to protect people from themselves. Paternalism didn't work in medicine, and it certainly doesn't work in government. People are adults and ultimately are responsible for their own actions/inactions. Patient autonomy is a fundamental component of modern medical ethics. Let people live their own life how they want, right or wrong. It's very easy to tell people how to live. How do you feel when they tell you that you are the one who is wrong? Or are you never wrong?

Yours,

A physician.

Re:Could go both ways (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715634)

...one of the big problems with giving patients too much information is that they will take it and - lacking medical training - use it to jump to the wrong conclusions, imagining all kinds of ailments that they just don't have.

Or, they might discover what their real ailment is, or maybe that none exists, and/or that the doctor is simply prescribing whatever the big pharma sales reps are comping them the most for prescribing this quarter and not what's in the patient's best medical interests.

Expect a huge push-back against this idea from big pharma and those tied to them, along with those that share common interests and goals in government and the private sector.

You control people's health and healthcare, you control those people...period. That's a lot of power, and certain to be a target of anyone wishing to exert control over a population. The first goal in removing people's power over their own health and healthcare is removing the ability to know and own their own medical history and test/diagnosis/prognosis/treatment data.

It reminds me a bit of the medieval Catholic Church that didn't allow non-Latin bibles to be printed or services to be spoken in anything other than Latin. Some of the same motivations may be contributing to opposition to patients owning/possessing their medical data.

Strat

No Clue! (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715010)

The data and information in my Medical Records is about as foriegn to me as 'C' Programming Code is to a Hair Dresser! Now if we can get IBM's Watson Computer to cypher it all, then maybe?

I hate the current procedure (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715018)

Going to a chiropractor, shell out $ 300 for X-rays and he keeps them for good to sell the films later for silver recovery (or something like that) after a set time period - ?? years. What do I pay for and who owns what I pay for? Consumer ripoff!

The only way is to have a doctor friend to request the medical records from another doctor and then give them to you or tell them you will be going out of the country and absolutely need your medical records now.

Re:I hate the current procedure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715034)

If that pisses you off, just wait until you realize you've been seeing a chiropractor.

Re:I hate the current procedure (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715330)

If that pisses you off, just wait until you realize you've been seeing a chiropractor.

done that - had to redo all X-rays because they "got lost" .....

Re:I hate the current procedure (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715064)

Rofl, rtfa > first line. Get them yourself.

Re:I hate the current procedure (0)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715312)

Going to a chiropractor.....

I'm sorry, maybe you missed the subject, but this thread is about medical records.

Re:I hate the current procedure (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715576)

Going to a chiropractor.....

I'm sorry, maybe you missed the subject, but this thread is about medical records.

Ah - X-rays are then not part of medical records - right?

Re:I hate the current procedure (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715880)

Where is Dr. Bob when we need him?

Come on Grub, bring him back!

Did not get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715020)

But: what comprises a medical record? I can't think anything else but whatever one tells the doctor (therefore he knows), lab exams (which as far as I know belong to the patient, at least back here in Brazil) and the image (even with the microscope) tests which require interpretation and then a report is produced (which is taken home as well).

So what's the big deal?

Re:Did not get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715408)

Same in Argentina. I'm asking myself the same thing.

Found it useful while living in France (2)

xlr8_joe (1566467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715028)

Personally, my family found it useful while living in France, where having copies of your medical records are your responsibility. For someone like myself that saw the doctor 1 or 2 times a year, it was convenient to go back to him and say, yah, last time we tried these two medicines for my cold, and this one worked, can you prescribe this one, etc. Nothing complicated, but it helped to make a bit of a closed loop on the treatment history if I was actively involved in the treatment history. Just my experience.

MRnotes... (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715080)

In the an audience of Insurance, Administration, Physician, Nurse, Billing and Legal requirements let's turn _that_ into another product " for sale".

Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715082)

While I agree patients have the right to view their records (nothing should be a secret), the reality of the situation is that patients are not qualified to make use or sense of their records. Anyone who has gone to medical school has gone through a period of hypochondria where as you learn about disease X you are convinced you have it -- all the symptoms seem to line up, etc. But no, there are a million reasons why a trained professional knows you do not have the disease. A little information is a very dangerous thing. Patient care will almost certainly go down.

have these people ever seen a raw medical record? (4, Interesting)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715164)

"They weren't worried about being confused and most said seeing the record would help them take better care of themselves helping them better remember their treatment plan, understand it and take their medication."

I had to laugh at this finding. I am a non-clinical worker in the healthcare industry and hold a post-graduate degree. Still, it takes a good deal of effort for me to fully understand a typical raw medical record. Assuming you get past the jargon used in most records (no small feat), you then have to see the big picture, which may or may not be spelled out in the record.

One huge issue is that providers have no motivation to chart with the idea that a patient will end up reading the record for substance. The primary motivation for most providers is to create a record that (i) will be understood by other highly educated medical professionals and (ii) can serve as the proper basis for creating a proper bill. I cannot think of a system that is less geared toward creating material that an average patient can understand (except, perhaps, if the record were in cuneiform).

I recently negotiated the purchase of a software program that takes a physician's instructions to a patient and suggests edits such that a 6th grader could understand the instructions. All written patient instructions are being run through this system at our hospitals (subject to ultimate review by the doc before they are handed to the patient). But these same 6th-grade level readers are now going to glean substantive meaning from a raw medical record? This is either evidence of how few people have reviewed a raw medical record or, alternatively, that hope springs eternal.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715458)

I cannot think of a system that is less geared toward creating material that an average patient can understand

The only reason that is the case is because medical records have been hidden from their owners for so long. As soon as patients start to expect to be able to use their own medical records the pressure will be on to make those records more comprehensible.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715594)

Why should they become more comprehensible? They are a record by a professional for a professional, not for you - if you require them to become readable by any random person then you are going to create a lot more work for those writing the records, and possibly introduce ambiguity into records where a doctor doesn't want to write a thousand word essay to correctly describe a specific condition within a broad area of similar conditions, avoiding identifying the condition as a similar issue but cannot be treated as such due to preexisting problems when seven words of medical jargon would be more precise anyway.

It's like saying C should be written so that anyone downloading the Linux kernel can immediately understand what's going on. That isn't ever going to happen, even though the code is available - it's still aimed at those with a working knowledge of C, not Joe from the diner.

That's not to say that having your medical record has no benefit - it has loads.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715950)

I cannot think of a system that is less geared toward creating material that an average patient can understand

The only reason that is the case is because medical records have been hidden from their owners for so long. As soon as patients start to expect to be able to use their own medical records the pressure will be on to make those records more comprehensible.

Nope. Too hard. I cannot routinely make a moderately complex medical note comprehensible to any random patient. For one thing, patients vary enormously in their ability to understand things - you might be an engineer who would be interested and could understand a lot of technical detail. You might be functionally illiterate. No possible way to reconcile that.

Now, what people can expect is that if you look at your medical record and don't understand something, they take the time to sit down and explain it in terms that you do understand. But that isn't the point of the actual medical record, nor can it be.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715606)

One huge issue is that providers have no motivation to chart with the idea that a patient will end up reading the record for substance.

There certainly won't be any motivation to write the records for an audience with no access to the record. Something has to come first.

I'm an advocate of patient's keeping a complete copy of their records.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715628)

I recently negotiated the purchase of a software program that takes a physician's instructions to a patient and suggests edits such that a 6th grader could understand the instructions. All written patient instructions are being run through this system at our hospitals (subject to ultimate review by the doc before they are handed to the patient). But these same 6th-grade level readers are now going to glean substantive meaning from a raw medical record? This is either evidence of how few people have reviewed a raw medical record or, alternatively, that hope springs eternal.

We have established already that you can read "raw" medical records. So there's no reason that an intelligent patient who puts the effort in can't. And even if they don't bother to put in the effort, there's always the placebo effect. Here, I mean that the patient has the sense that they're contributing to their health (just as taking a sugar pill might be perceived to help make them better) and hence, achieves a better health outcome.

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715632)

While 90% of your typical hospital chart is both incomprehensible and useless after you've been discharged (you probably don't care how much you peed on a given day), the Discharge Summary, Operative Notes and most radiology reports should be reasonably comprehensible with a little help from a dictionary or Google. If a specialist is consulted the Consult Notes may be significantly more technical, but potentially very educational. Progress Notes are frequently still hand-written and may be illegible, but I still recommend people get copies of them. Labwork is just raw data that most people won't be able to do anything with, but in most cases the results that are outside 'normal' will be flagged for you.

I recommend everyone acquire everything I've listed above anytime they are in the hospital. If you have any questions bring it with you to your regular doctor and ask!

Re:have these people ever seen a raw medical recor (1)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715672)

Do you know what I do when I'm handed one of those insulting little sheets of paper? I look at the staff and say something like "I'm not a functionally illiterate idiot. Tell me what I really need to know."

Sure, I'll take 'em (1)

andyring (100627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715186)

Granted, I rarely visit the doctor, but I would appreciate having copies of my records. I recently applied for life insurance which included a medical exam/blood work/etc. I was very pleased that my insurance agent gave me sealed copies of those records. It let me see where my various blood levels were at, and I discovered a couple that were a little high. Admittedly, my wife is a nurse so she was able to give me more information on some of the items, but on a few, she just googled for an answer much like I would have. Seems kinda obvious to me. They're MY records. I should have copies, for no extra cost. Heck, there are probably errors in there too that, if I could see my records, I could correct, much like a credit report.

I'm generally not a fan of government intrusion into my life, but I would like to see it mandated that patients have a right to copies of any/all of their medical/dental/vision/etc. records, at no cost.

Re:Sure, I'll take 'em (4, Interesting)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715468)

As a doctor, I really think of your medical record as mine: what I gleaned from your complaints, what exams I did, who I talked to, and what I thought was going on and what to do about it. I know you are paying for it, but I'm the one doing the work and putting all that medical school to use.
That said, I think you should have access to it, for free, and modern electronic health records allow that: once I review a result or record I can release it so you can look at it online. I also now document in my charts with the idea that the patient or family member might read it, so in addition to the technical detail I write the plan and diagnosis in as plain language as possible, and send patients home with this at each visit. (More than half immediately lose this paperwork, in my experience.) These systems, naturally, come at significant, expense and require a fair amount of upkeep, so they are mostly available only at larger practices.
Having worked previously in a developing nation where patients were responsible for keeping their own medical records (on 5 x 8 index cards), I'm glad we don't do it that way here (I'm n the US). I need a secure copy of what's been done to you and what you're taking, and recall having had a lot of trouble reconstructing lost information from the memory of illiterate folks or damaged records that had gotten submerged in open sewers and whatnot.

Re:Sure, I'll take 'em (4, Insightful)

andyring (100627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715592)

Good points, Doctor. However, I do take issue with your opening comment. Yes, your training resulted in the work being done, but I AM the one paying the bill, and it is MY BODY. Yes, you are doing the work, but only because I am paying you for that service.

It's no different than if I take my car to the shop, list some complaints, and they fix it. I fully expect to be told everything they did, and why, and their diagnosis, so I can keep a record of it. Why? Several reasons. First and foremost, I'm paying the bill and it's my car. And, with that information in hand, I can have the confidence (or lack thereof) that the problem was fixed and why. And I have that information in case I want to do further work myself, or take it to another garage, or have that information with me if I'm traveling and it needs work to show a mechanic somewhere else. Each of these examples is directly applicable to medical records for the same reasons. If I think my doctor screwed up, I can take my records and show them to another doctor. Or if I'm traveling and something bad happens, I can have those records to show a doctor wherever I'm at. Etc. etc. etc.

Do7l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715218)

America. You, more stable you need to suuceed say I'm packing [slashdot.org], OpenBSD guys. They Of OpenBSD. How [theos.com] on his

It is inevitable and probably a Good Thing (2)

BilGe (546056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715276)

My sister works as a Medical Assistant in a very small family practice. In fact, the practice is so small that my sister and the doctor are the entire staff. They hire an electronic medical records service from "the cloud". This service makes it possible for every patient of their practice to have on-line access to their records. The records get updated in near real-time because both my sister and the doctor use tablet computers. The tablets go everywhere, even the exam rooms, so as notes are taken they go directly to the patient's records.

I have not heard any details about how many of their patients actually USE this service. I would bet no more than half, since many of their patients are geriatric cases - too old to want to bother to learn how to use a computer.

My sister and the doctor both are very much in favor of this kind of access to medical records. They think it makes their job easier. It gets more details to the patients and it does not tie up the phone just to be reading records to someone. It also lets patients remind themselves about treatment decisions that have been made.

It requires an ActiveX object to access the records and so is useful only for Internet Explorer users. The vendor is supposed to be working on a way for Mac users to get access as well, but they are not there yet. Firefox and Linux? Ferget it! Heck, they just added support for IE 9 and 64-bit Windows a few months ago.

The Effect on Doctors (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715280)

If this hasn't been mentioned already, I think this could help improve doctors too. I go to the doctor and he sees me for a few moments, we talk, he leaves. If I saw what he wrote I suspect he might spend a little more time talking to me and discussing overall health.

OTOH it could certainly have people who don't know any better harassing doctors over trivial issues.

Cool idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715296)

This is basic information, folks. I think it would effectively change the whole healthcare game, and put more power in patients' hands. Granted patients cannot all be responsible with their own records, but letting them take a copy with them allows them to have a bit more leverage in analyzing what is wrong with them, rather than depending 100% on the mysteries of the medical field. Not being a medical professional really doesn't factor into not being able to understand the records, because one could always do the research at home or library, gaining access to other basic data sources to help them explain what things mean. I'm not saying that patients should relinquish doctor care altogether, but it would help them assess if they are getting adequate healthcare, and getting their money's worth. Look at it this way, if I have visible symptoms of something, and I know that they closely fit to a certain infection, disease, or physiological issue, that's half the knowledge right there, so why should the health provider be the only one to have access to the other half of my information, that include pertinent data, like lab results, blood pressure measurements, well-structured authoritative check-up data, and possibly casual analysis made by the provider? This would not just help the patient make good decisions about their healthcare, but also provide them with a quality assessment of the provider community, and would allow healthcare customers to weed out the bad from the good, and not just have to settle for blind trust when it comes to believing what our medical professionals are telling us. Down with the information asymmetry!

Share & Compare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715332)

The best reason to take your medical records home is that you can upload them to the social networks (with privacy options) so that you can share and compare them with the people you want. Especially with people who have similar symptoms, and perhaps find some common solution for your issues.

Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715336)

Quote from my wife's medical record, after we had access to it: "She asks a lot of questions". Thank you asshole. If you provided more answers, maybe she wouldn't have had to ask the same questions over and over now would she ?

Worst idea ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715394)

People will lose their medical record.
People will have their medical record handy at job interviews.
Homeless People will use their medical record as a blanket.

People are not reliable in handling their own medical records or nuclear reactors.

Group Health in Seattle already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715544)

Probably most places using Epic will be doing something along these lines, but I've only got experience with GHC. I can go online, look at the tests I've had, with results, and the doctors comments. There's nothing on their system which I don't have access to, though some of it isn't released until the doctor has discussed it.

Transparency=good, "dumbing down"=bad (1)

Thorrablot (590170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715724)

There are some obvious benefits, and a number of potential drawbacks to this trend. I personally would like to have electronic access to my medical records, however I'm concerned about what the implications would be for health care quality and costs. I work in a sector that is involved in standardization of medical records, so take this with 2 grains of semi-informed salt, and call me in the morning:

Benefits

  • Some patients may have the interest, background, and temperament to actually improve their health by exploring their records and trends
  • Physicians will be held to a high level of scrutiny (by the patients) on the quality of their EMR entries

Drawbacks

  • Some patients may be confused or upset by what is in their records, costing more either in clarification or (in extreme cases) legal challenges
  • Physicians may feel compelled to either "dumb down" or "soften" established clinical terminology (e.g. obese), making it less efficient (and more error-prone) for medical professionals to interchange information about the patient through the EMR
  • In the longer run, assuming that patient portals to EMR data allow users access to the standardized EMR formats (a myriad of standards, really), I expect to see some new companies developing software to help patients interpret and track their healthcare (beyond what the portal provides). These sites would require patient approval, but would be free to analyze and recommend the EMR outside of the constraints of the "healthcare entity" policies. That is, the EMR is the raw "spreadsheet" of health statistics, and I would expect to see Intuit (Quicken) or Mint-like companies and services come along to make more sense of it.

Try switching Doctors sometime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715778)

I switched doctors a few years ago, I moved so I needed to take the records with me. It was a three month ordeal. They kept saying that the records were not mine. Meaning that I didn't own them. I kept saying to them. "Who are the records about?" and they would say "You". So I said well why can't I have them? Their answer was that they owned them since they requested the tests and they wrote up the diagnoses and so on. Finally I said "Look my new doctors are refusing to operate on me until they do a back check of all the things I've had done. So your saying that the records are about me, paid by me though my insurance company and co-pays. But I can't have them because you own them? Show me the paper work that I signed that says that I agreed to this, or write me up a document that says that you are refusing to give me my own medical records so I can consult with a lawyer on this." With in 3 more weeks the new doctor had the paperwork since we now had to wait for the company that my old doctor uses to photocopy and then ship to the new doctor. It turned out I didn't need the operation in the end.

So in my case it wasn't that I wanted to read them, I just wanted them to give them to my new doctor. And HIPPA was followed by the way.

You know those B/P machine kiosks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715806)

in the grocery stores/pharmacies and malls?
Right now they are dumb machines.
The company that owns the rights to the locations got bought out by an EMR provider.
They are planning to replace all the machines with kiosks that will have displays that will connect with your EMR, so when you take your B/P you have the option of logging in to your EMR account and having it added to your record.

These things get used about 25 millions times a year. Once people start using them and getting accustomed to seeing their EMR, they are going to expect more access.

Not sure where the money is in this deal though...

Real Life Example of why EMR is a bad idea (3, Interesting)

xanthos (73578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715914)

My wife practices at a major medical center that has adopted this approach. Most of her patient population are non-English speaking immigrants that have no use for this piece of paper and so they tend to just throw them out anywhere convienent or leave them in the waiting room.

What's worse, is that my wife is required to give this to them at the end of their visit. This means that my wife spends almost the entire visit on the computer entering the notes instead of providing personal care to the patient. EMR sounds great in theory, but in reality it turns highly intelligent, highly educated individuals into data entry clerks. Great for the bean counters and the malpractice lawyers, lousy for the practitioners and the patients.

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