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The Quest for My Complete, Portable Health Record

As I have written before, I currently see several physicians who do NOT use an EMR in the office.  They are awesome diagnosticians, people and mentors but they have not taken the leap to the electronic health world.  Now, add in two hospital networks that do NOT have patient portals for accessing my records and you get one big, fat medical record quagmire!   I would love to have my entire medical record in one place AND have portable access to it.  Will I ever reach that goal?  Do I need to establish a relationship with a new physician just to obtain my goal?  I certainly hope not!  So what can be done to make my dream a reality?

puzzle personThis quest has certainly led me to devour insights from industry experts, read countless blogs and articles and consider the drastic move to a new physician.  So I was intrigued when I read the Wall Street Journal article, “Image Sharing Seeks to Reduce Repeat Scans”, this week.  Allowing patients to have access and the ability to TRANSFER images to multiple providers reduces cost, redundancy and ultimately, radiation exposure for the patient.  In addition, it allows the patient to “own” their health.  Although this is certainly a step in the right direction, this is an isolated sharing of information, not connected to the rest of the patient’s history, just another piece of the puzzle.  How can we solve the entire puzzle?

Health Information Exchanges (HIE), Personal Health Records (PHR), and Patient Portal development could certainly help create a more complete record.  Development of a unique patient identifier, recently advocated by Health IT evangelist, Brian Ahier, could hasten collection of records across the country.  All of these would help collect medical records that are now being electronically generated.

However, many of us have records that were created long before EMRs even existed.   These would need to be attached as PDFs or scanned and attached as documents to the record.  Perhaps a very progressive site would be able to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to mine those records and pull out discreet data to populate the record.  Finally, the record would invariably need some good old- fashioned manual entry to finish the job.

So will my dream of a complete, portable Health Record ever be realized?  I think so…with a little help from my “friends” (EMR, HIE, PHR, portal, scanners, NLP and others) and a lot of manual work on my end. Even as a physician patient, there’s work to be done. What about tackling yours?

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4 thoughts on “The Quest for My Complete, Portable Health Record

  1. Marcie Stoshak-Chavez Post author

    Thanks, Mike. I agree with you. Patients want to have an excellent user experience and physicians need embrace Healthcare Portability. The use of Direct and Blue Button will certainly facilitate this. Encouraging patients to create PHR would also be of tremendous value for those patients who have multiple providers and complex medical histories.

  2. Mike Jenkins

    Dr Marcie, this is not so far away. It will require a lot of small things to happen in the industry before it is easy. First, software designers need to spend more time designing solutions that fit the users instead of forcing the users to fit the software. This can be done, but it is still quite rare. Next, we in the industry need to train the patients be more responsible for the ownership and portability of their medical information. Solutions such as Microsoft HealthVault already offer most of what is needed but the adoption is very slow. Finally, connecting these systems using technologies like Direct and Blue Button has to become more prevalent. All the tools exists. They are just waiting for some artists to mix them up in a “meaningful” way.

    Mike Jenkins
    http://www.buildyouremr.com

    p.s. I would love to know the names of these physicians. I have a framework they need to see.

  3. Marcie Stoshak-Chavez Post author

    Ben,
    Thanks for your insightful comment. I do believe there are many more issues to address with interoperability/integration in healthcare, but as a cancer survivor, my medical history is a bit more complicated than most. I believe you are definitely on target for the majority of the healthy population, but for those of us with multiple records scattered over multiple sites, it does tend to be overwhelming and stressful. As a physician, I understand the frustration of trying to connect with multiple physicians in disparate health systems while trying to care for my patients in the best way possible. Double edged sword. This was written purely from the gut.
    MSC

  4. Ben Heubl

    Dear Marcie,
    Sorry I really dont want to sound too critical, but dont we have the same discussion over and over again? I am fully aware that people want to have their own HR exchangeable, but there are far more important issues how technology and databases can be used in healthcare. I just registered with my GP in the UK, there where 6 or 7 questions, about me (smoking, no), about my parents (no track-record of diseases), any allergies etc. and thats basically it. If I am conscious and credible, in the rare situation that i have to go to a (another) medical professional not holding my health record, it will take less than 20 seconds to tell them my complete HR, as i just did above. Please dont misunderstand me, I am aware fully of the importance of EHR. Apologies if i sounded harsh in any way, I admire your work and approach, BUT in my option we may need a different solution for different people (at least in the UK, or EU). let me know what you think (innovation@benheubl.com)

    BR

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