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Advanced patient-record systems: where money could be well-spent?

A patient and LifeHealthPRO columnist recently wrote about his back-to-back medical appointments. They were “different” to say the least. While there may have been some personality variations between staff members, technology was the driving factor in making these two experiences drastically different.

Let’s start with the less technologically advanced facility. The patient was, in his words, a “long-time patient” and that they “had all of [his] information.” When he went into the office, he had to fill out a form repeating everything. When he went into the patient room, the nurse asked him repeat the information again so that she could include it in his patient records.

The explanation above makes you think that the medical facility was just being thorough, helping lessen the risk for mistakes. Maybe that is the intent, but it creates a problem. The patient has to repeat information several times because the facility had several separate record-keeping systems.

Is the burden on the patients to make sure they remember every detail every time they have to repeat the information? What if the confusing procedure fails and the doctor makes a mistake as a result? Is there a better way? “Yes there is,” said the patient. In fact, the second appointment held a solution.

The second facility used a completely automated, single system approach. The patient entered his information online, on their confidential website. When he got to the office, they simply asked him to confirm that it was still correct on an iPad, not a paper on a clipboard. He could even scan his medical card on the pad.

Technology does cost money, no one is denying that fact. Is it still worth it? Maybe, the study on patient care from our recent post gives more weight to the argument that a little money spent isn’t such a bad idea.

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