Technology has two things it does well:
- Enabling communication
- Organizing information.
Medical records are currently used as a tool for justifying payment via profuse documentation and the proper selection and submission of billing codes. They are not really medical records. This is because a unit of commerce (office visits - the only place doctors are paid) has been turned into the only place medical care is given. So instead of becoming a tool for increased efficiency and better care, technology is perverted to meet the demands of third-party payors. Technology actually lets doctors keep up as these demands become more and more complex.
But in a setting where health is valued by both doctor and patient, where doing less care is preferred over more, where spending less money is the preferred outcome for both, technology can do much good. My ultimate vision is to have a patient record that is centered on the two things that technology does well:
- Making it easier for patients to communicate with me and for me to communicate back.
- To enable that communication to be effective as it is enlightened by accurate and organized information. I want communication tools to be embedded within the medical record for both patient and doctor.
Do these tools exist? You are reading this, aren't you? But in reality, the tools are not yet shaped in a way for patient care to be optimized. I'm working on fixing that.