Recordkeeping: Burdens, Availability, and Government Intervention
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 08:13 AM

The healthcare system works best if patients aren’t solely responsible for managing their health records and other data regarding their injuries and illnesses. During injury and illness, patients are trying to advocate for themselves at a time when they’re not at their best.  

The desire is to minimize the burden on patients to memorize all that data and to repeatedly serve it up to clinicians. Patients can be further helped to articulate their issues by giving them a single sheet of paper to fill out before each outpatient injury or illness visit on which they can list the medications they’re taking, their main concerns, and the top two or three questions they’d like to ask their doctor.  

Doctors and patients need to have access to and understand that information so that productive therapies are offered. This article calls for the industry to teach and employ navigators to help patients so they can be successful patients and not have a lot of low-value stuff done. What is determined to be of “low-value” is seldom explained.

This article further describes a system that gave providers a comprehensive view of their patients’ medical histories. The Mississippi Medicaid program worked with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to develop such a system, now every time a provider in the university’s health system has contact with a Medicaid patient, after the encounter is done, a summary is sent to the government database.  The Medicaid program is working on expanding the program to include several other large healthcare providers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also is using data analytics. Because the VA has 20 years’ worth of computerized government records on patient data, one doctor notes “when I walk into my primary care clinic, I can pull out a list of the patients assigned to me … and get a list of the 15 patients at high risk of complications in the next 3 months — including hospitalization, death, or institutionalization — and it’s shockingly accurate. The people on that list are almost always people I knew would be on that list, but what’s fascinating … is that there are usually one or two patients on that list that I did not expect to be there. The two that shock me are the ones I [initially] intervene with because I'm surprised about that and I've got to find out what's going on."