Electronic Health Records

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 6/9/2008 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
One more question - I am just curious how everyone feels about the proposed electronic health records.  Currently my GI, hospital, and primary have electronic records and I love them knowing automatically everything that happened at my last visit.  They can also look up something if I can't remember.
But - at the same time I remember the horrable GI I saw as a teenager who swore there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my head.  If our records were electronic and my new GI in my new state could see them, would they have viewed me as a clean slate and found crohns or would they have been biased and sent me to the loony bin?
So - do you think nationwide electronic records are a good thing (saving costs and reducing medical errors) or a dangerous thing (following you from doctor to doctor)?

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1488
   Posted 6/9/2008 8:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I think I would go for the embedded micro chip first. At least it would be loaded with my current meds, updated as needed and I wouldn't loose it do to Fibro Fog! I don't wear medical necklaces because I have a low hair line and they constantly are yanking out what hair I have. I don't like wearing a med braclet cause it always tarnishes or gets caught on things. The closest I get to medical alert is my necklace hanging on my rear view mirror and my wallet card. The wallet card needs to be updated more often than I actually do it. The micro chip would at least insure that emergency medical attention would be accurate depending on my current therapy (one would hope). Or in the worst case, at least they would know the prednisone would altar my adrenal glands ability to kick in to save my life!

In regards to negative Dr. notes on my file following me around, I wouldn't want that. Did you ever see the episode of Sinfeld where Elaine went to several dermatologists due to negative remarks on her record? They were ready to commit her by the end of the show. However, my GP, GI & Rheumy all work for the same group. Good thing I like them all so far and this has been a big help for me as far as "patient notes" go.
Dx'd Jan'06, 1st Resection 7/06, Humira, Imuran, B12 injections, Nexium, Lexapro, Glucosamine, Multi-Vitamin, Ultracet Secondary conditions: Psorasis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Lactose Intolerant, gallstones, peri-menopausal.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/9/2008 9:11 PM (GMT -7)   
As a student in healthcare, I'll share my two cents. Electronic records are incredibly valuable. Any and all information you need about a patient is literally right at your fingertips- you can look at progress notes, evaluations and assessments, consultations, orders, lab results, imaging, etc, etc. It really promotes consistency in care, and you can get a better picture of each patient by knowing their medical history as more than just diagnoses but as a story. Also, most software for e-records have built-in safety checks, which make some aspects of healthcare "idiot proof" and cuts down the number of errors, i.e. drug interactions or nursing protocols based on orders. It makes the job of the healthcare professional much more streamlined, not to mention time-effective. Interdisciplinary care is also made much easier with this type of record. These records are less prone than paper to HIPAA violations and create a paper trail for every situation that can be reviewed without anything "accidentally" getting lost. As always, patients would have access to their own medical record at any time. Many facilities are making part or all of the record available to the patient online, and this has the potential to keep doctors more accountable and patients more informed. Electronic documentation really benefits the doctors, the clinics/hospitals in general, and the patient.

As a patient, however, I can see your concerns. I think that (some) doctors document carefully in an attempt to remain unbiased. And new doctors, upon recieving records and taking on a case, will try to take the history of the patient objectively. This is why getting a second opinion is important and effective- if a doc went by history alone, they'd all come to the same conclusions. Any documentation will have the doctors' impressions and opinions, though, and I know when I've read a report about someone it sticks in the back of my head when I meet them- but then I'm open to change when I do my own assessments and get my own impressions. I think it would be a disadvantage for anyone to start with a "clean slate" and rely on their own subjective experiences to provide medical history. The doctor really needs the whole story to piece things together- not to say the patient would purposely leave anything out, but with a complete record all of the information is there for a doctor to gain an understanding of the patient's condition. And, such as in your case, if one doctor's opinion conflicted with the patient's experiences, the new doctor and the patient would be able to discuss this, explore reasons for the discrepancy, and track consistency or changes since the prior experiences. Personally, if I had a doctor who looked only at my history and did not consider my viewpoint at all, I'd get a new doctor.

I'm all for electronic documentation. The only real disadvantage I can see is ease of access for insurance companies, but that's a whole new topic and one that I don't know much about.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 1831
   Posted 6/10/2008 3:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm leary of electronic records only because my manager's were deleted from a major health system's system. This is a well known, well respected health care system -- one of the top in the country and they just "lost" her records --- all of them gone. I use this same facility for my gi and I swear sometimes my electronic chart wasn't completely updated from my last visit. But on the pro side, if you've had a test done by one doctor and are seeing another in the same health system, they can pull up your results on line. So I guess there are good and bad sides to it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 6/10/2008 6:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I think it is good when I travel I go to any VA in the country, but when I had new issues I had several doctors tell me there is nothing wrong and had to go outside of the network to get diagnosis.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease
We will find a way, or make one.-Hannibal (crossing the Alps in the 15th Century on war elephants) 
Make sure your suffering has meaning...-?
All suggestions/options/opinions are caveated with please consult with your local health care provider...

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