Want to see MY Medical Records?? No Problem.

The fury and passion devoted to protecting medical records is totally incomprehensible to me. 

Who wouldn’t want their med records to be immediately available in case of  an emergency?   I have a twinge ( as opposed to a tweet) every time I go to my doc’s office and see his color-coded manila folder filing system.  It is a nightmare, but it doesn’t seem to bother the nurses.  

I understand that if someone had AIDS, they might not want their boss to know about it. But how many people reading this have AIDS (3/100 ths of a percent), based on U.S. Census Data (309 million Americans) and number of Americans afflicted (1 million). So could not be the only reason. 

I understand why not to disclosure STD’s.   What else?  I thought about my medical record and how bare and boring it is.   I’ll be happy to tell you all about it.  Here are the highlights:

     Had Scarlet Fever when I was about 11 years old.  I was lucky – no side effects, but my sister lost her hearing in one ear.

     Broke my right ankle in ballet class when I came down on the wrong angle after a SPECTACULAR tour jete!  I’m proud of that one.

     Got kicked by a pony near my left ankle when I was in my 40s.  Didn’t break anything, but insurance company put MY ANKLE on the list of NON-COVERED areas. LOL

    One dog bite from a German Shepard when I was college.  It was an accident.
    We were playing grab-it with a toy…

     Used to get bronchitis fairly regularly when I smoked, which was over twenty-five years ago.

     Had tubes tied after 2nd son.

     Had an eye lift – cosmetic surgery – Hurrah….

Pretty scintillating stuff!   You can see why I don’t worry about anyone getting their hands on my medical records.    I don’t even care about any of this – why would anyone else?  

I got another view of the medical record problem when my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  HER medical records were enormous and included things I had never seen before like 3-D rotating images of her brain so doctor could turn it around and view it from any angle.  Her records were so complex that we literally had to take a set of CD’s to office visits.  Didn’t make any difference, she died four months later.

The cost of converting my boring records is something else I wanted to check out.  For a small doctors office with 3 doctors – installing a full document management system would cost about $100,000 with an annual maintenance fee of $30-50,000.  Quite an initial investment for a small office.

Here are some fun stats on paper records, from a Coopers Lybrand survey on the time and money spent on paper in today’s typical organization:

• Of all the pages that get handled each day in the average office, 90 percent are merely shuffled. 

.   The average document gets copied 9 times. 

• Companies spend $20 in labor to file a document, $20 in labor to find a misfiled document, and $220 in labor to reproduce a lost document.

.  7.5 percent of all documents get lost, 3 percent of the remainder get misfiled.  

• Professionals spend 5-5 percent of their time reading information, and up to 50 percent of their time looking for it.  

• There are over 4 trillion paper documents in the U.S. alone – growing at a rate of 22 percent per year. 

The famous Google Health project will digitize your medical records and put it in their repository for free, BUT you have to get them from your doctor in digital form first. 

And to see how mainstream this concept is going – there’s now an App for that! Yes, if you have an iphone you can get Health Cloud for free!  

But now that I have published my medical records on Twitter, or at least, my summary of my medical record – the whole world can have access!

One thought on “Want to see MY Medical Records?? No Problem.

  1. I’m a privacy officer at a large academic health center, and I hear this argument as a defense all the time when we catch someone snooping in other people’s medical records, and it drives me crazy. There ARE things in your medical record that you don’t want the world to know – things that you just conveniently left off of your blog. Until you publish your home address, your birthdate (and age), your social security number, and your weight, I’m not going to believe you that you don’t care about the privacy of your medical records. The truth of the matter is, that medical records DO contain lots of information that people don’t want the world to know – that they are on an antidepressant, that they have a history of alcoholism, that they struggle with their weight, that they have herpes (try 1 in 4 people there), etc. And every medical record contains those items that I listed earlier that you left off your blog for a reason – because they are very private and need to be protected.

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