How to Make Hospitals Less Deadly and health care better and more efficient

Cost and quality; the two issues facing health care. And I think it’s fair to say those two issues are related. The article referenced below is about medical errors and the resulting death and injury. The quote is just one of several suggestions in the article but it is one of my favorites since Bill Clinton held up a sample ID card during one of his early state of the union speeches many years ago.

imageWhat good are electronic medical records if those records are not fully integrated across the health care system? How can the cost of care be made more efficient, the quality raised and errors reduced if nobody talks to anybody else or maybe worse, relies on the patient telling them. “Are you taking any blood thinners?” “No.”  “Do you know which medications you are taking?” “Just an aspirin a day and Warfarin.”

The very notion that in this age of ordering your Starbucks with your phone or learning the traffic delay and average speed in that delay from your car that our health records are not fully linked and accessible to any clinician is, in a Sanders much used word, outrageous‼️ And don’t give me any of that privacy crap. We can deal with that and besides we are talking about life and death here.

It can and should be done. I have written about this before with one example. 

imageTalk about spending money on infrastructure, what could be more important than the infrastructure of the U.S. Health care system?

How much more efficient cost and quality wise would health care be if when I visited any health care provider for any reason they popped my ID card into a reader and instantly learned of every condition I have, every medication I have ever taken, every place I received health care and the results of every test, scan or procedure?

Why isn’t this at the top of the health care agenda?

• Make electronic health records interoperable. 

Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act, but the worst health-care glitch of the Obama years might have actually involved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The $787 billion “stimulus package” included $36.5 billion to link electronic-health records and make all patient histories, lab results and prescribed medications available in the exam room with a few clicks. Yet, according to the federal government, only 14% of clinicians share data with doctors beyond their care organizations, impeding diagnosis and jeopardizing treatment. Congress passed legislation last year directing interoperability within four years, but that is too long. Providers and patient advocates should work to lower these firewalls as soon as possible.

Source: How to Make Hospitals Less Deadly – WSJ


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