Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Concepts I can live with

I have followed the transition of the hospital where I am treated from paper to electronic records. This is going on everywhere and promises to help patients and improve their care. A long time ago, you would check in and they would call the nurses station and tell them you were there. Then they added computers and the nurses would be notified electronically and would come out with a medical file to get you from the waiting room. Now they come out with a laptop (I wonder how often one gets dropped) to get you from the waiting room and bring you back to (the closet) where you will wait for your doctor. Everything is electronic. Well almost. I have been told that the next step in the transition is to have all patient notes be typed in electronically. And now they are working backwards from 2005 to put in all medical records. They currently have 2005 to present electronically.

I see the results in talking to my many doctors. They can review what everyone else has said about me (all nice I am sure) to learn about my oh-so-complicated medical history. It makes it easier on me. We can discuss my issues instead of have a question and answer session. They can easily review my past before I get there. Also, my medication list has somewhat reduced in importance as they have it online and it is up to date. Now they use it to confirm what I am taking. I think I can live with this. I'm just waiting for my medical records from 1981 to be updated.

Another concept I like is same day medical appointments.

Back when I was a child and doctors made house calls when you were really sick. (And milk was delivered in glass bottles magically out side the door. The knife sharpening man came by in his little truck. And the world was flat and black and white, but I digress). Then managed health care raised its ugly head and you needed referrals for everything. You waited months for an appointment and doctors really had no choice but to send you to the ER for stupid things because they couldn't get you in to see them. For many reasons, this has changed. Insurance companies are pressuring patients not to go to the ER unless they are very sick. I have been to the ER several times in recent years but I was always admitted so I never got hit with a big fee.

I have also seen the hospital where I am treated change and adapt as well. First they instituted a walk in clinic where you could see a doctor after a relatively short wait for any sort of minor ailment (you with the chest pains, go to the ER). The latest twist is now they tell you to call your regular doctor's office first to see if you can see your doctor or another in the same department that day. If not, then go to the walk in. I have done this and seen a doctor who knows my doctor. They also have my medical record on a laptop when I get there.

I think I can deal with these changes. I feel my care has improved and I don't wait weeks for an appointment for something that I have no longer have.

Well I have to motivate again this morning. We have an electrician coming to fix an electrical something and I need to get dressed before he shows up. Then I am meeting old friends for lunch at a fancy restaurant. Which should be fun.


Lauren said...

I am still waiting for my doctors to catch up with those advancements. It would have to save them so much time and improve their ability to properly diagnose.

linda said...

I'm happy about the electronic records. About time.

OOOOOOO I love having lunch with friends at fancy restaurants. Wine too?

Ann aka ButDoctorIHatePink said...

My oncologist's office did the switchover while I was doing chemo. I had a nice long infusion while the nurses were being trained. :) Being a former computer geek, I found it very interesting to see how different nurses responded.

I think it's a great idea but as a patient, I worry about privacy. I strongly worry about privacy.

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