Including patients in EMRs

I recently responded to a question on Linkedin related to electronic medical records: Health 2.0 Group http://cli.gs/tmBWjr In the response I included: “… unless patients are included either directly or via interconnects such as Microsoft’s Health Vault or Health Google, the value of the records are very limited.”

The next response by a Linkedin members was: “This is a very naive statement. A very close statement would be to make the same claim about bank records, which for the most part, the value in interconnecting them does nothing for the financial benefit if the account holder…”

I would argue that including customers in bank records provides significant value:

  1. I can go online or to an ATM and get my balance and my statement at my convenience because I am now able to connect to my bank records
  2. I can go online and mange my credit cards which are issued by banks even if they have an airline or gas station logo on them
  3. I am able to use home banking to receive and pay bills which can be very convenient.
  4. I am able to use home banking for financial record keeping including historic records for several years
  5. I am able to move money between my bank and brokerage accounts relatively quickly at no cost
  6. My bank records are linked to credit rating agencies and I can link to that information which facilitates finding and resolving errors that affect my ability to get a loan; the problem of errors was big enough that congress acted to provide this added protection and I suspect we will find the same issues with electronic medical records.

Some analogies between bank and medical records would include:

  1. When did I or a family member last have a checkup for X? When should I schedule my next one?
  2. My EMR should provide medical record keeping similar to the financial record keeping with my bank
  3. I will be able to use CVS clinic type facilities for minor medical issues for convenience and cost reduction and assure that that visit and the treatment are known to my regular physician so she is fully informed
  4. I will be able to review my medical records and take appropriate action – yet to be determined – to at least comment on errors and perhaps get them corrected. Potentially good for my health and my insurability.

Some other benefits of including patients were discussed in my last post: What if? What if we expand the definition of EMR?

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