We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Furthermore, those records are not private. This is what you get when government gets more involved with medical care - and anything else.
My patients know that they are not on an assembly line, and I'll keep it that way until they make it illegal. Doing things my way, however, requires that I take no government insurances. Just pay me for my time at around the same fee as a master electrician and below the rate of a fancy lawyer.
We've been using the same family doctor for 30 or 35 years. This year, when I went for my physical, and he brought his computer into the examining room, it was clear that his attention was on the gear, and not me. The EHR part of Obamacare will be a disaster for patients and doctors alike.
My internist has been using a laptop for years, and by years I mean it's a now archaic 4.5 lb. Toshiba M200 tablet running XP. He weaves his use of it into the visit to make contemporaneous notes, and to look up info on past visits, lab work, medications etc. It's not nearly as distracting as the doctor thumbing back and forth through a 3" thick set of paper records looking for something.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the plus side I see multiple doctors and specialist and they all know what my tests and treatments have been even the ones that happened hours to days ago. On the other hand I do fear government involvement in this and everything else in ur life.
EHRs utterly dumb-down medical reasoning and communication. Check-boxes, indeed. They are the perfect tool for a government which sees us not as individuals but units for whom they can design a system of living. And if we don't quite fit the check-box, they will of course change US rather than the box. My curse on them and those who designed and legislated them.
I install an Open Source EMR for physicians in Canada called Oscar.
There are no developers getting rich. It's a cross-Canada community of programmers and physicians who want to use computers to improve the delivery of health care. Some of the most active participants are physicians who are looking for ways to give their patients better care.
Advantages: Legible prescriptions. Automatic warnings for medications with interactions. Simple renewals of prescriptions. No paper - the Rx can be faxed directly to the pharmacy. Immediate graphing of important lab results. Error-free calculations. Instant visual plotting of growth curves for children. Remote access to patient information. No room full of paper charts to pull and file.
The list goes on and on.
Suppose there is a warning about a medication that you have prescribed in the past. How long would it take you to locate all the patients to whom you have prescribed the drug? With paper charts would it even be possible? With a computerized system it would take minutes to get a list of all patients, their contact information and the date of the prescription.
EMRs are not suitable for all fields of medicine and not even for some physicians... but a blanket condemnation is wrong and I will comment every time you do it.
If you are even in Canada, I can introduce you to dozens of physicians who love their EMR and would not want to go back to paper charts.
If the government insisted that from now on you were forced to use a government approved tool to get into your car, would you blame the tool manufacturers?
The problem is your government and it's blind insistence on computerization.
there's pros and cons.
Privacy is at risk, and doctors spend more and more time looking at their screens rather than their patients.
But in clinics where ever more you're handed from doctor to doctor to nurse practitioner, them having all your combined records at their finger tips at any moment rather than having to dig through dusty file cabinets organised with someone else's system and written in near unintelligible scribbles, it's a gods' end.
And with the pharmacy having access to all your prescription history as a side effect, they can check whether what you got prescribed isn't contra indicated by something else.
And that can save lives, as doctors do sometimes prescribe the wrong things either out of ignorance or simply by making a typo in the prescription (and in the past by a pharmacist misreading the handwritten drivel of a doctor who's handwriting is so bad he can't even read his own).
It's amazing just how many players are allowed to input data -- which is often staggeringly WRONG.
The ER admittance nurse changed my oral testimony about where I felt pain -- and pretty much all the rest.
I strongly suspect that he simply ticked off a diagnosis box and the computer auto-filled the rest. No-one could be that daft. He was all thumbs at the keyboard, too. You'll see a lot of that. Digital systems now require everyone to be his own typist, yet typing classes are now passe. (!)
I only learned this hours later -- walking out the door.
It was the best explanation as to why everyone else took matters in an unexpected direction.
This is the unforeseen problem with GIGO.
The 'system' does not let the patient check on the accuracy -- of even their own testimony! It's privileged, of course.
And, of course, the rest of the planet gets courtesy copies.