Power to the People: The EMR Revolution!
I know that the more we inform people about their health, the more they will care about it.
Long gone are the days of secrecy of health care. We are encouraged to be responsible for our medical history. The American Heart Association encourages women to know your cholesterol number like you know your dress size. The mystery is gone and so should restricted health records.
Some doctors don’t agree. Some physicians think that there is a level of understanding and analysis that will cause more problems for patients.
How Much Access Should Patients Have to their Medical Record
I completely agree with the fact that doctors are critical to understanding your total health. They understand nuances and connections that I don’t even want to fathom. I also think that patients should have access to their medical record just for the sheer need to be portable.
The move to EMRs is truly a revolution. We have a lot of different competing factors in making it possible. We have a lot of fear and misunderstanding of the capabilities and possibilities of this new era in health care. It will not be easy but in the end it will be worth the effort.
I am Enabled, the social media campaign for Microsoft’s consumer-focused electronic medical record product HealthVault, is running a contest that will award the best ideas on how to use an electronic medical record for your family and how you’d share that story on camera.
So, here’s my idea….
I want a complete medical record from birth to now for my family.
I am a health care nomad. I’m 29 and have lived in two state and six cities and seen at least 20 different physician and specialists offices. My husband has lived in 4 states, over 10 cities and seen countless PCPs, pediatricians and specialists.
As a millennial, we are a generation of ‘nomadic’ patients. Millennial move their health care to the most convenient practice based on coverage, costs and proximity to home or work. We don’t research doctors or put any extra effort into going to the same doctor. In fact, since I left for college I don’t think I’ve seen the same doctor for longer than two years.
Long gone are the days of seeing the same physician for your whole life. Long gone are the days when doctors have enough time to truly understand your whole health picture. Now is the time that we must take control of our own health information, bring it with us and understand it.
I want a complete medical history. There is no way that a physician office can do that for me. With increased demands for care, decreasing insurance payment rates, and a nursing/family physician shortage there is no way a physician office can track down and maintain my medical record. I am missing information that is important for my health including immunization records, test results, surgery details and childhood allergies.
I also want a clearer picture of health from our parents and extended family. My husband and I want to have little ones soon, and I want to know my family’s medical history. I want to know about possible cancers and diseases. I want to know what we should be working to prevent to keep us as healthy as possible.
The thought of a complete medical record is also important to me, because I have a chronic illness. I need to be able to quickly and easily give my health care providers a full picture of our health to help them make the best decisions for our care.
I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease which causes hypothyroidism. I know that I needlessly suffered because of my incomplete medical history. I remember as long as five years ago a nurse mentioning that my thyroid looked funny and that I should get tested. Being young ,naive and uninformed, I got tested and they said the results were “normal” so I just ignored trying to keep my record complete. As I hopped from practice to practice my medical record never came with me. My newest doctor never knew that I’d had a problem for that long of a time . As a “communications chick” who certainly does not have a medical degree, I never thought to put two and two together. I just thought that my stress and lifestyle was contribute to my fatigue and moodiness. I never had a complete picture of what my medical history and put the puzzle together.
With an medical record like HealthVault, I can track my own lab results, doctors visits and medications. I can have control to see patterns and ask questions of my physician. It also have the functionally to track other wellness markers like weight, blood pressure and glucose levels.
The way I would show my story is to chronicle my journey of piecing together my care history. I’ll tell the story by not only chronically the numerous people I’ll have to be in contact with to complete my record, but I’ll interview medical professionals who deal with paper and electronic records to get their perspective on going digital, their struggles and successes. I also want to visually explore patients, physicians, insurance company’s resistance and embrace of medical records. It is the EMR revolution that I want to capture on film.
This is truly the power of the people. The more we understand the better we can take care of our health. Ownership is a huge part of responsibility. I am ready.