Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's no LOL: Few US doctors answer e-mails

I came across this article a week or so ago. It's no LOL: Few US doctors answer e-mails from patients | ajc.com

I am really intrigued with this area of the medical management process. I love email as a mean of communicating and receiving information. I find I am more thoughtful about how I am communicating I am always surprised, that something that would seem like such a time saver, from the patient POV, would not be embraced by doctor's. It seems like such a no brainer. I have read there are security issues.... patient confidentiality challenges, and . While I can understand, I think it ultimately comes down to the fear factor of patient liability issues.

I am wondering what other people think about this issue. Please share your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Google Health.COM

Today there was an announcement about the launch of Google Health care. NyTimes Google Healthcare article. I am really excited about about the direction of the IT industry into the healthcare space. From what I can tell, this is one of the most innovative approaches to moving into this space, and could better enable healthcare management into the hands of the consumer in a way that will empower the patient. I obviously need to look further into what they offer and how they structure their legal agreement, in addition to patient privacy issues.

This type of service offering has enormous potential and potentially enormous pitfalls in relation to patient privacy and targeted consumer pharmaceuticals advertisements. See this article about the business skeptics: Google Faces Skeptics on Opening Day.

Personally, I have been a big proponent of moving the healthcare industry into the electronic space. I come from the information industry, and based on my personal experiences am really keen where this will all go.

Coming from the patient care and healthcare management perspective I really want to see something change especially for patients that have complicated healthcare issues, such as myself.

Although I love technology, I have found that when I go to doctors that have adopted healthcare IT solutions, that there is something missing in the doctor patient experience, especially when they are looking, typing, or dictating notes into the computer with their back to me. Here are some issues raised by Dr. Jerome Groopman in the following article: Do Electronic Records Impede Care. In addition read the following article from Australian news: For medical history, read hit and mystery

I foresee that the healthcare industry can only benefit from electronic record management, undoubtedly there are many powerful benefits of technology in the healthcare space, if used judiciously. Imagine emailing your doctors questions, getting a tailored Physical Therapy protocol through the internet, among other things. The flip side of the coin is that without interoperability standards will make this whole thing useless. If one system cannot read the information from another system there is no point in capturing the data if it cannot be shared. That is a common problem with technology, the ability to share information.....with other systems.

No matter what, we are moving into the technology age for healthcare. Google is making a valiant first stab at the problem. Here is a link to Google's explanation of what they are doing: Google Health, a first look I am going to review further what their service offers. The first thing that comes to my mind about how they have chosen their adisory board is that there are no patients, only doctors and healthcare admins. The exchange of information should not preclude the importance of patient input. If I had a voice, I would encourage the Google team to include a pure play patient, as opposed to a committee that is healthcare industry based. Here is the link to their healthcare advisory board: Google Healthcare Advisory Board

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Local Orthopedic elimination process

I have been on several doctor appointments over the last two months. Today was a follow-up with a standup local surgeon. There are some things that make me feel very comfortable and others that make me puzzle.

Today he determined that I have tennis elbow, or some other overuse disorder of my elbows. I have problems in my right shoulder that may or may not need surgery. I have bilateral knee pain, with predominant right knee swelling due to osteoarthritis, secondary to avascular necrosis (osteonecrois, avn, on, what have you). I have left hip pain due to avascular necrosis.

On the whole he made sense, up to the point when he said, on the one hand, I should not be pulling weeds, or other such work, and on the other hand, that he was not comfortable taking on the paperwork or bureaucratic management of my LTD. When he asked if I was working, I said that my body has become a full time job. And, that I cannot imagine how I could take on anything else. This truly has become a full-time job -- from Head to Toe, Knee to Elbow, Hip to Shoulder and whatever junctures inbetween. Wow. I really am, still, overwhelmed how to manage this process. it is hard to keep a business mind about it. But, I made a plan to follow through with two local orthos and try to create a support matrix here, at home.

Sometimes I think I am too deep and critical it makes we rattle my head. Sometimes I wonder if I am making this complex. I am sure, sometimes I am. On the other hand there are times that I think that is cannot be as complex it seems. I really am trying to focus on creating a local team of doctors to manage my case. I have been steadily working on this since postponing the hip surgery, due to the constellation of medical issues that cropped up. The progress seems so increbily slow. Despite my incredible frustration I am sticking to the plan. I do ultimately need a relief team. I feel like I have been in the trenches too long by myself. I am really tired.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hunting for Rabbits (or, is it doctors)

After my return and ultimately separation from the Vail clinic, I made a promise to myself to go through the diligent process of creating a network of doctors locally that can help me navigate my increasingly complex orthopedic situation.

The process has been an endurance race. I have had nearly 3 to 7 doctors appoints a week over the last 3 weeks. Two that I always have; allergy and chiropractic, sprinkled in with an alternative mental health maintenance appoint. The others have been to dealing with my ongoing UTI and attempt to establish a local orthopaedic solution.

The task turns out to be far larger (of course) than I originally suspected. Not only is there the physical aspect, but there is a largely mental and financial element to the process of, essentially, interviewing doctors. And, I am tuckered. So, I leave this piece for another entry.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Where is House when you need him?

Have you ever had the feeling that you are just not happy with the care that you receive? Need a more supportive doctor? Or, a doctor that talks to you rather than at you?

Well that is where I am at. I am so tired. I am tired of not having proactive, intelligent medical team to help me navigate the increasingly complex world my body seems to choose to live in. I have lost control. I am along for the ride hoping for the best. And, trying to fight for the best.

On the orthopedic front, I have up to now felt fairly well taken care of by virtue of the team in Vail. With the separation from the team I fell so much more vulnerable. It frustrates me to no end.

Somewhere in my heart I believe that I should be able to surround myself with supportive, intelligent, and reasonably proactive care. Wow, what a concept. The fact that this is not happening is really maddening. As a result I need to actively pursue and ultimate go through a measured and controlled interview process for new doctors in those areas of care that I am particularly concerned about. I know it may sound egotistical, but, currently more times than not I feel like I could run around certain doctors methodological approach. i really want someone or someone's to take things off my shoulder. I feel increasingly burdened and a sense of no where to turn for a helping hand to lift me out of the morass of medical complications. Between the AVN, ON, osteonecrosis, avascular necrosis (whatever you call it) of the hips and knees, and the whole bladder/UTI, etc....I am sick of it.

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