eHealth has been a major and controversial topic lately. A lot of time and effort has been spent on it, as there are many issues such as costs, privacy, security, and standards.
I had an encounter with the health system recently, and from my observations as a patient we need to keep this initiative moving, find ways to solve those issues, and stop using paper. I paid particular attention to the paper and documents that were created. Throughout the process, I was asked the same thing multiple times. (Confirming who I was and what they were going to do multiple times to make sure they don’t make a mistake is welcome, though.) Once I noticed that a nurse was looking at one document, and copying information off it onto another. By the time it was over, the clipboard had many pieces of paper on it. No doubt some of that might be entered into an electronic record – which means double entry. And some of it will get left on the paper and put in a file somewhere never to be seen again.
The current health care record system has another fundamental flaw – in that records are centered around a particular doctor or hospital, when they should be patient centric. Health care providers would have much better information about us if they had access to all of our records from the various family doctors, specialists, dentists, etc. that we encounter over our lifetimes. That would lead to better treatment, and less time spent asking the same questions about things like family history and medications. Patient centric records would also allow us to take better charge of our own health needs, including preventative health care.
We have the technology, let’s rebuild it.