Being one of the person who, unfortunately, has more than his fair share of visits to doctors and hospitals over the last few years, I have seen first hand how ‘primitive’ are digital records kept in USA — probably in every coutry in the world. The excuse commonly given is the privacy and security. In these days when everything related to your banking to all other personal records, and all aspects of national security are on-line, it is difficult to believe that personal medical records could not be kept on-line and be used using all the modern tools. I often wondered when is that going to happen.
An article in NYT today suggests that at least some hope of that happening, possibly in my lifetime, are there. As pointed out in this article:
A paper record is a passive, historical document. An electronic health record can be a vibrant tool that reminds and advises doctors. It can hold information on a patientâ€™s visits, treatments and conditions, going back years, even decades. It can be summoned with a mouse click, not hidden in a file drawer in a remote location and thus useless in medical emergencies.
President-Elect Obama has promised to accelerate this process of digital medicine. I hope that does happen. And if that starts, I am sure there are many people, I included, who will vounteer their time and expertise to accelerate the process.