Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You and your medical information

My husband and youngest nephew at my sister's wedding.
Of all the things I have dealt with in my life, I am learning to speak up to be a better educated patient. I was very happy to read this article in the paper how the movement is growing for patients to get access to their full computerized medical records. There is concern from doctors that people may misinterpret what they read. But I do think it is important. In the past two years, I have had opportunities to read my medical records going back to 1981 - and learned things I didn't know and other things I had forgotten.

I was happily reading away, and then this news story pops up on the TV (I was multi tasking - watching the news, reading the paper, and drinking some very important coffee since my back prevented a good night's sleep). Basically, there are no real standard systems for letting patients know the results of tests leaving many in the position of 'if you don't hear from us its normal' pool. Sorry, that's not good enough. Patients should be told good or bad, asap. After any test/procedure/fun medical event, I ask when will the results be available and how will I find them out. Be realistic - your doctor has hundreds of patients and things can fall through the cracks. If you don't hear when you expect to, call your doctor's office and ask for the results. Don't assume anything.

Today, I am procrastinating on the internet (because its what I do best) and I am exhausted. I slept from 830-1am... And then dozed intermittently after that - even with the help of a pain pill. I can see potential crabbiness in my day. I will go for the substance abuse route and drink coffee all morning, well, maybe tea too. I am working my new job this morning and my other job this afternoon and hope to fit a walk in the middle, if the weather cooperates (and I'm not too tired).

The cat is fine. He now comes upstairs to tell us every morning that he deserves more food. He did miss us but not very much.

Now I am running late. Eeek!

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