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Medicine Science

Putting Medical Records Into Patients' Hands 211

Hugh Pickens writes "Roni Caryn Rabin says patients have a legal right to their medical records, though access can prove difficult. But what would happen if patients were encouraged not just to see their medical records but to take them home, study them and really own them? A research collaboration called OpenNotes set out to answer this question, publishing the first results of a study on physician and patient attitudes toward shared medical records and demonstrating that for patients, at least, shared medical records seems to be an idea whose time has come. 'That's the great challenge in medicine: getting patients to be more active in their own care,' says Dr. Tom Delbanco, a principal investigator of the study. 'What we're doing is opening the black box and letting you look inside.' Dr. Delbanco and his colleagues recruited more than 100 primary care doctors who were already using electronic health records to volunteer to share their medical notes with patients. Patients were enthusiastic: 90 percent thought they would be more in control of their care if they saw the notes. They weren't worried about being confused and most said seeing the record would help them take better care of themselves helping them better remember their treatment plan, understand it and take their medication. The goal is to engage patients more fully in their own health. 'Knowledge is power,' says Jan Walker, the study's senior author. 'A patient goes to the doctor only once in a while, but in between visits, you're making all kinds of decisions that affect your health every single day.'"
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Putting Medical Records Into Patients' Hands

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  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Monday January 16, 2012 @01:40PM (#38715234)

    The issue isn't when one medical file get sold by a doctor as a single file is useless. usually the problem is when hundreds of files are sold from the same doctor.
    Plausible deniability goes away when a large number of records, more than the national average, from a single doctor get loose. Sorry but I doubt very much any doctor can legitimately claim that all those documents were lost by individual patients.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:26PM (#38715732)

    The internet provides a great deal of medical information, however you still need someone with experience to relate it to a specific case.

    The last few times we've visited a doctor we'd already done the research on the Internet and knew exactly what the problem was, so we had to wait around for hours just so the doctor could agree and sign the prescription.

    Doctors should really only be dealing with cases where the cause isn't obvious.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:05PM (#38716208)

    When the same patient has presented twenty times in 6 months, demanding that the doctor diagnoses his "glandular problem" to solve his weight issue, while being seen in the waiting area clutching a McDonalds bag and drink on several occasions, it's not a wrong statement to make, especially if he intends on going to another doctor if you refuse the diagnosis.

    It's not stupid nor unnecessary - sometimes the patient is the issue, and it's fine to note that in the records. As a doctor you can and should make a note of such observations, because it helps with diagnosis later on for other issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2012 @04:27PM (#38717212)

    > calls up anywhere you say you've been treated in the past and get all the records.

    Does not work in the US thanks to HIPAA. The Democrats made sure to protect the medical cartel from internal competition. The vast majority of doctors will not release records because of the civil and criminal burdens imposed by the Democrats with HIPAA. I work on medical billing and scheduling software for a living, and I don't know of any of our customers that will release medical records without a fight.

    For example, even though I work in the industry I wasn't able to get an MRI released from the ER. I had to have a second one done for my oncologist at a huge cost to my insurance company. Aetna didn't even fight the claim because they know duplicate tests because of stupid medical laws are the norm.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.