Electronic Medical Records – worse than you thought!

Posted: October 29, 2013 in Doctor-Patient Communication, Electronic Medical Records, ePatients, Technology, Uncategorized
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This will be a short blog entry.

Promise.

I just discovered two MAJOR hospitals – one of which I’m having an operation at in less than a month, has incredibly incorrect medical information about me in their computer system. How did I learn this? Open Notes. Now you know which major hospital i’m referring to. Incorrect history, medications listed I’ve never taken, incomplete medication allergy lists…
I m scared.
It’s not for lack of trying.
Everyone knows about my multi-page info printouts that contain all this info that I bring to visits. The same ones numerous docs have told me they think are “great” tell me I’m a “god patient” and “wish more patients would take such an active role in knowing their health history, medications and diagnoses.”
But what good does it do if this info never makes it into the EMRs?

The second hospital is in Worcester. A major teaching hospital – I gave my printout to the person takes with entering this info (according to the doctor) and not only couldn’t she read Englush, she dint know what”PRN” meant, nor what basic medications were. In the nail today, I received a summary if the “medical record” this huge and well-regarded center has on file about me.
I was sickened and infuriated. How many times do these people have to be handed computer-printed, legible information – and how difficult is it to scan/transfer this info into their systems? My PCPs network seems to have this down to a science (www.OneMedical.com, for those interested in a competent organization).

This so-called “Personal Medical Record” listed meds I’ve never taken, incorrectly spelled meds, meds that were the incorrect formulation or the wrong dosages…and, my medication allergies: INCOMPLETE – with the most important ones I list first on my printout – the ones that cause anaphylaxis – not even on the sheet. I guess they don’t care if I suddenly die from anaphylaxis on their watch.

I promptly wrote letters to the Patient Affairs offices of both hospitals. I enclosed the poor excuse for a “record” that the Worcester Hospital sent me, highlighted, noting all the errors and omissions.
I also quoted statistics from the IOM: 70% if medical errors are cased by improper treatment. 90% of those are preventable (a 2008 statistic). Also, medical errors are the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. (Another IOM statistic from 2013. (The Worcester hospital refuses to accept email – ill dry to flag down a carrier pigeon tomorrow….come on, get with the 21st century like the rest of the medical community!!)

What a warm and comforting feeling that gives me when I have surgery planned at one if these hospitals in a less month. Perhaps, If I had a death wish, it would.

This oddly follows in sync with an article published by Medscape recently (Oct 24, 2013) that asked doctors what they thought the top ten barriers were to the practice of medicine today. Guess what several referenced – technology. One doctor ( Henry R. Black, MD of NYU Langone) specifically mentioned the incongruence of EMRs – systems that were supposed to simplify and streamline patient care, allowing all doctors access to a patients test results and specialists’ reports. The problem? No practice or hospital uses the same EMRS, or EMRs that can interface!! What are we paying for?

This has become the number one problem in healthcare, hands down.
How can you even worry about doctor-patient communication when the doctor isn’t even looking at The correct information.

Discuss this with your doctors and quietly freak out…and PLEASE check your EMRs for accuracy! If mine are incorrect in 2 of the 5 major healthcare systems I deal with – I fear what may or may not exist in the other three.

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  1. […] Electronic Medical Records – worse than you thought! […]

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