Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So what do your doctors write about you?

Don't you ever wonder? You see your doctor, you ask your questions, get your answers, maybe some new recommendations and follow ups, and are on your merry way home. At some point after they see  you, your doctor writes down notes about your appointment. Do you ever wonder what they say about you?

I have had some infrequent opportunities to see my medical records. Partly by happenstance and partly by choice. Some of it is crystal clear and makes sense and some of it requires a decoder ring - that my surgeon provided at the time. I found it interesting.

There was a recent voluntary study (because we need more studies) where doctors shared their notes regularly with their patients who wanted them. They found better compliance with doctor orders among other things.

I know I can go to the hospital where I am treated and get a specific test result for no charge but if I want my full records it will basically cost me $100 for the first 100 pages and then $0.36/page after that. With my  medical file, I'm probably looking at around $1000 for the whole thing. That's just fine. They can stay there.

But I do have a friend who found out what her doctor wrote about her in her medical record - it was something along the lines of 'she will never lose weight because on weekends she drinks a lot and pigs out'. Seriously that's what the doctor wrote. That is now her former doctor. And she got a patient advocate to help in getting that removed from her permanent medical record.

I am sure my doctors write things like "paranoid, chronic complainer, pushy, bitchy, hypochondriac, full of mysterious ailments who uses more than her share of the medical system" in my medical file. Actually I don't think they write that.  I am sure its a very fat file hogging lots of disk space. But most of its probably in doctor speak and I didn't get the decoder ring.

Would a written note at the end of each appointment help my chemobrain/fibro fog memory remember what I am supposed to do and why help me? Probably but I don't need more paper in my life. And I don't want to have to wait until they doctor gets around to writing the notes either.

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