Monday, July 7, 2008

The Importance of Medical Records

Last week, there was a family crisis. 

One of the aging parents in our family took a terrible turn for the worse. As a result, the family needed to surround themselves around her to make sure care was followed through on, etc.... 

Among the myriad of challenges of stepping into an instance of geriatric care (trial by fire), especially of an aging parent, was that the elderly patient went to an Emergency Room that was out of her ordinary hospital -- Kaiser.

As such, the fear was that, when she went to her followup doctor, at Kaiser, she would not have the medical history of the emergency visit unless the notes were physically printed out and carried over, following all proper authorization/records release protocol, or the facility subscribed to a sister health information technology system as Kaiser hosptial. ( There is a compounded challenge when you are not the patient, and there is very poor documentation of Power of Attorney, or Trustee protocol.) This is the niche Google Health is trying to exploit -- medical record transparency.

This stressful moment happened when the family realized, as they were transporting to the main facility, that they did not have in hand, any of the results, from the 24 hour hospital stay, from the first hospital. The downside is that without medical records, the patient, is often victim to needing to have test reduplicated, since, one would hope, the primary care doctor, would follow a similar line of reasoning, as the emergency care doctors had.

The end result was that through some shinanigans and creative thinking we were able to secure the records within 2 hours on the day of Lilian's appointment. It was amazing. And, ultimately proved helpful. The followup doctor was able to modigy his existing diagnoses based on test results from the "other" hospital.

So, the moral to anyone's medical story is always, get a copy in hand of the records from your patient visit. They are typically available, from a primary hospital, within 24 hours. And, there are different cost effective ways to get copies of records. I step back when a hospital records admin staff says to me, well, if we send them to your doctor they are free, if you want them it is a $10 charge and $.25 fee per page. I say heck no. I have always figured out how to get my records legally and free. I refuse to pay for something/service that I have already paid for.

So, there is my pearl of wisdom of the day. Always, get your medical records.

(If you ask for them at the time of your visit, typically, a hospital, is required to provide them to you free of charge. You just have to remember to ask.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should try

It is a service similar to Google Health but with the advantage of being totally anonymous (privacy guaranteed).

With Keyose you can access your medical records (including medical images) in internet or by mobile phone.

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