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?
This 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?