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A Complete Patient Record and You

Posted on March 9, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Erin Wold, Account Based Marketing Program Manager at Hitachi Data Systems. You can follow Erin on Twitter: @ErinEWold
Erin Wold
So we have discussed the first steps to getting an enterprise imaging facility but what does this and a complete patient record mean for the average patient? If I were to stop someone walking down Las Vegas Blvd (I would shoot for the more sober hours) and ask them “Who owns your medical records?” I am sure I would get the same look and response over and over. The look of confusion and the response of “my doctor’s office?”  This is exactly what enterprise data sharing is set out to change.

A complete patient record for the patient means that a patient can go from their primary care physician to sub specialist without having to call ahead and have their records faxed over. It means that in the case of an emergency room visit they don’t have to worry about leaving with paperwork and getting it back to their primary care physician. It means their records follow them to whatever doctor they (or their insurance) choose.

For example, a couple weeks ago I won myself a trip to the emergency room after cutting a chunk out of my hand while slicing vegetables on a mandolin. (OUCH!) Not knowing my experience in healthcare IT, the resident, who came in first, was checking off all the boxes and asked “do you have a primary care physician?” In my pain ridden and snarky voice I responded “Why does it matter? Your computer can’t talk to hers anyway.” He got a chuckle and said I had a good point and then asked if I was in healthcare. But we have all been there. We have seen one physician only to turn around and have to tell the story all over again with the follow-up care physician because the records just aren’t there.

Not to mention I had pictures of the wound on my phone I had taken right after the incident. My follow-up physician asked that I send her these photos so she could take a look (because she didn’t have access to photos snapped in the ER). I asked her if she could put them into my patient record being my PCP? Her response, “no I don’t have a way to get them uploaded.” Similar to what Alex Towbin, MD, Director of Radiology Informatics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said in his session at HIMSS16, he has multiple pics on his phone and there is nothing wrong security wise with that, but that’s not where the belong.

A complete patient record should include all medical data related to you. This includes images or all kinds whether an X-ray or photo snapped on an iPhone, textual reports (path, lab etc), and even larger data files including genome sequencing data, and digital breast tomosynthesis. I don’t think you would find one physician who would argue that any of your data is unimportant and can be left out.  In the wise words of John Halamaka, MD, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center the next time you ask why your patient record can’t be all in one and they (physicians or IT) respond because there is too much data to store, you should ask them “well how does Google do it then?”

Redefining the EMR

Posted on March 7, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Erin Wold, Account Based Marketing Program Manager at Hitachi Data Systems. You can follow Erin on Twitter: @ErinEWold
Erin Wold
Walking through the HIMSS 2016 exhibit hall, booth after booth I see interoperability this and interoperability that. So I decided to stop and ask the vendors, “When you say interoperability, what do you mean?” Answer after answer I heard, “We integrate with the EMR and other vendors to provide data into the patient record.” When asked to clarify what types of data, the majority mentioned all types of textual data. Never once did anyone respond with images of any sort. I actually got the response of “Why would enterprise imaging be at HIMSS?” when I asked “What about enterprise imaging?”

Here ladies and gentlemen lies our problem. When going to HIMSS vendors and attendees alike aren’t thinking of enterprise imaging for the most part. When you search for sessions, very few pop up when searching for imaging. This year’s HIMSS has seen a few more familiar faces from the imaging scene which is extremely exciting for the future of healthcare and patient engagement.

I was able to sit in on multiple imaging sessions and was lucky enough to go to one that was actually about enterprise imaging but neither were titled or tagged that way in the program. All great sessions with very informative information on why enterprise imaging is a must. It is not only easier for the point of care physician to access the patient record but it will increase patient care and reduce time between study and treatment.

As we move into the era where telemedicine is becoming a reality and anyone can receive care at their corner Walgreens, enterprise imaging is crucial to patient care. How do we get there?  How do we get the EHR gurus to work with the imaging gurus. After sitting through a session led by Alex Towbin, MD, Director of Radiology Informatics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; I see how it needs to start.

It started right then and there after he said we must redefine EMR.  We as vendors and providers have defined the EMR as a repository for textual data. We have done ourselves a disservice and we now have to reverse it. The EMR should be a central location where the patients care team can enter ALL data that has been collected on that patient. In essence it should be more like your teenage cousin’s Facebook page where they put everything than your Myspace page from 10 years ago where nothing has been uploaded because you can’t remember the password to gain access.

I was shocked when John Hamlaka, MD, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, presented that only 50% of pediatric scans are read by the correct sub-specialist. This is in part due to the referring physician, the radiologist and the sub specialist lacking a way to share these scans and therefore the sub-specialist never knew it existed. Enterprise Imaging makes way for this to happen. Other risks that arise because of a lack of enterprise imaging: double exposure to radiation, misdiagnoses, crucial lapse in time between scan and start of treatment, and an incomplete patient record.

A step in the right direction was taken this year at HIMSS by aligning with SIIM or the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine and hosting dual sessions as well as a meet-up at the HIMSS Spot. Eighteen months ago they created a coalition of innovative members from both organizations. Moving forward it will take leaders from medical societies: HIMSS, SIIM, RSNA, ACR,  etc. Redefining  is only the beginning. While it seems like a long, hard road ahead we have to start somewhere.