The Challenge of Integrating Electronic Medical Records

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Going forward, helping people to have access to proper medical information is one of the ways that we are going to reform the medical system to deliver better quality care without burdening the system on unduly. So, much of what's important in healthcare is proper patient education.

But it's hard to achieve that in the limited time that most practitioners have in the office setting, and so making that information available to people by some other means is critical, but it's critically important that it be done by an organization like Share care because you don't want people providing information with let's say a personal agenda, or putting out information that's broadly at odds with what well trained practitioners think.

So, basically in simple terms, it's the way of getting reliable information out to people so that they can use it to improve their health care. The availability of an electronic medical record is clearly a double edged sword. It's a brilliant thing to be able to share record with your colleagues and your patients, and having access to things like laboratory tests and X-ray studies can be a big time saver, and it can cut costs because there's not going to be a reduplication of effort.

One of the problems has been tying remuneration to documentation. What started to happen 25 years ago or more because the doctors were paid on what they did but the insurance company said no, unless you document this you did it, we're going will assume you didn't do it, and he started to look more and more carefully at medical records and saying we are not going to pay you for this because you didn't document it.

Well, that didn't go on very well before doctor say, well I'm going to start documenting a lot of stuff but previously I just happened but didn't get documented. It's not a very big leap from that to a system that facilitates documenting everything, even if it didn't really happen.

So, sometimes automated records give information that's misleading because they suggest that things happen that didn't some of the systems are designed so that the default is everything is put in and you have to remove it, and that's clearly not good. These days it's a real daunting task a lot of times to go through medical record and figure out what the hell is important because a simple encounter for a cold it's going to be a page and a half of stuff that's mostly non sense.

A lot of the skill that you have is practiced[sp?] these days believe it or not is going through medical records and calling what's useful information from what's simple garbage. And I don't think that there has been any real movement recently, or up to this point to address that particular problem.

So, right now what people are getting is medical records is really a lot of stuff that's really unimportant in many cases.