LIMITING CONFUSION AFTER PATIENTS LEAVE THE ER


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/16/health/16emer.html?_r=1&ei=5070&emc=eta1&oref=slogin

The above article, from the New York Times, indicates that most ER patients do not know how to care for themselves when they get home from a visit to the hospital, and that many ER patients wind up back in the ER for issues related to a previous visit.

Some of the stories in the article are particularly disheartening, for example, a woman was discharged from a hospital with pavement embedded in her face and no instructions for care.

The standard model in medical care today does not involve encouraging or allowing patients to review their medical records. AI has partnered with a key client to build a health record bank to be managed by patients, so they can view their medical information, make informed choices about their care, and better share information with providers and loved ones. A goal of this project is to facilitate a more consumer-oriented health care experience.

In this health record bank, built to be compatible with the Microsoft HealthVault platform, and in partnership with HealthUnity Corporation, patients can review the medical information input by from their physicians, lab results, and even hospital discharge summaries. Patients can also add relevant information to the health record bank and can print out a combined summary of provider and patient-entered information to bring to a doctor’s appointment.

Care hand-off and care management are two big challenges for today’s hospitals and other providers. Given the daily hustle and bustle of ERs, it is not entirely surprising to learn that patients often leave without a full understanding of their treatment.

Hopefully, health record banks and other personal health record utilities will catch on and help prevent these types of problems in the future.