Friday, July 11, 2008

Medical Records

Medical Records

macro of a purple stethoscope

During a recent trip to the doctors office, I noticed that all my answers to the questions that were being asked to me were being input into a laptop.

The nurse carried one around to track all my statistics, and the doctor's fingers were keeping up a pretty fast pace on the keyboard as she typed in what I had to say.

They needed some records from another provider, and that was also handled seamlessly through their system - right down to me giving them the permission to do so. No more signed release forms in the mail.

The prescriptions were wirelessly delivered to Intermec printers down the hallway and handed to us as we left.

I got to thinking about how safe all my medical records were when they are being sent around electronically all over the place, and the doctor assured me that the equipment they use ensures data integrity and security.

My info was just as secure as their inventory management system. Those little bar code labels from tag printers were on every piece of disposable equipment they used during that visit.

Everything used or given was tracked - right down to the littlest thing.

Automation is a great thing, reducing work, tracking inventory, and making less paperwork, but there is something re-assuring about actually holding that paper in your hands sometimes!


  1. Totally agree Kathy, a very important point, all our mall leases, actually anything legal is always on paper, kinda says something about the virtual paperless security doesn't it?

  2. I agree with you whole heartedly. Our doctor does the same thing and everything seems so efficient but sometimes I wonder too.

  3. My concern is more about trust. I choose my doctor and trust him, and his advice.
    Having everything on "recoded as/for statistics".
    Bothers me because, my information is given to people i don t know and they can do whatever they want with it...
    I had a really bad cold 4 years ago you can shout it at the world no big deal... but if i had a surgery, being infected by HIV i don't want that information passed to insurance companies... do we still have a right for privacy, an d can we select who can use our health information...
    This is why i also use caution when it comes to putting content on the Internet.
    for this comment is wish to remain anonymous...
    thank you !

  4. Kathy,

    I used to do medical transcription at home, for a few local doctors in a large hospital group.

    It's alarming how often mis-read hand-written notes have lead to wrong dosages or treatments, leading to patient injury and even deaths. Doctors' writing is often illegible, to boot, making deciphering hand-written patient records a special and critical challenge.

    So I think the computer usage and back-up of electronic med. records is a good thing, though I always ask to have a printed copy for my records!

  5. Lynda - I have a friend who also did transcriptions, but gave it up for the very reason you state. The doctor's writing was most illegible, and she didn't want someone's health resting on her shoulders. It's a scary thought!

  6. Anon - you bring up some great points, privacy is a valued thing that can be quickly taken away in the fast-paced, technological world.


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