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Nothing Personal

Center for Information Therapy disclaimer: This post was written by Cindy Throop and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Center for Information Therapy.

-3I agree that getting personal is not productive. But I guess that depends on what you are talking about. The health care system is broken, but it is not the fault of any single person or entity. Getting personal in this sense does not help move things forward.

So, what *is* personal?  How about the information in the pictures below?

This is Regina Holliday’s husband’s most basic – and important – health
information.  It is on display at Pumpernickel’s Deli in Washington,
DC.

-2 -4


*Why is his personal health information on public display?*

Did I mention it is a mural?  A permanent mural?  It is the first of a series of public medical murals.  Regina is making a point.  This representation of a single page document is what she has been desperately needing for the last two months.

If this information had been available to her, her story would be less horrific.  If the medical professionals who had been taking care of her husband had known this basic information, things would have turned out differently.

By differently, I mean better.  Certainly a heck of a lot better for her husband, who had a distended bladder that went untreated until he was transferred to a different medical facility.  It was documented in his EHR on several occasions, the most recent entry indicating his bladder was “dangerously” distended.

Why wasn’t he treated at the first facility?  Probably because this basic and critical information was buried in his “electronic health record.”  It was, for all intents and purposes, inaccessible (except for billing purposes).  To make matters worse, she was told she would have to wait 21 days for his medical records.  Twenty one days is a long time to wait for treatment for a dangerously distended bladder.

*We are in the midst of defining meaningful use.*

In response to Regina’s story, Ted Eytan asked a great question: Is it meaningful if patient’s can’t use it? (http://www.tedeytan.com/2009/05/28/3086) I would like to add a second question.  Is it meaningful if no one (including medical professionals) can easily access it in a timely manner?

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John ScheneClaudio Luís VeraHugo ChavezAnonCindy Throop Recent comment authors
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Evan Earl Dussia, II, MD
Guest

Dear Anon, Who said anything about money? I certainly didn’t. I would be glad to explain open source to you, but I sense you only wanted to have a political rant. I had a discussion with a 25 bed hospital this morning and the administrator rightly observed that this service is a method for emergency room docs in isolated hospitals to share clinical information about the folks who live in sparsely populated areas. There are solutions. While it is difficult to provide anything for free–the servers need electricity and our spouses like to eat regularly–the answers to the reasons why… Read more »

John Schene
Guest
John Schene

Hello,
Hugo is being facetious but I do get his point.
Dr. Drussia does not have to give away his solution for free.
Healthcare may be expensive but at least its better than in most countries.
John

Hugo Chavez
Guest

I must be doing something wrong with the “Law of Attraction”!
I keep attracting political activists with socialist tendencies dedicated to healthcare IT blogging.
Why don’t you try to fix the problems in latin america? Because you know you won’t get anywhere!
And you are right it’s Chávez with an accent and his second surname is Frías with an accent as well.
By the way, it’s not compañero, but camarada.
Socialist politics is the culprit of human suffering!
El Camarada

Claudio Luís Vera
Guest

Dear Fake Hugo Chávez (aka Equally Anonymous Cynic) –
Anyone would know that the real Hugo Chávez would use an accent on his last name.
Thanks to our wonderful healthcare system, Regina Holliday is going through a special kind of personal hell that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies, including Fidel.
This isn’t the place for cheesy political satire. In fact it’s in really poor taste, compañero.
Human suffering goes beyond politics.

Hugo Chavez
Guest

Amigo Anon, I forgot to tell you this: In Venezuela and Cuba you can NOT make anonymous comments protesting any situation, no matter how right you may be. We have to protect the integrity of our system therefore we can not allow anything perturbing, you must understand. I’m sure you do. Well, sorry, you can post anonymously, but then you will be sentenced to 10 years in jail. This is a friendly warning my friend. But, you can protest about anything you want of the money adoring Americans with a special permit that we give you that costs a mere… Read more »

Hugo Chavez
Guest

Amigo Anon, Move to Venezuela. What you are talking about is precisely the system that I have created here for all my people. Everybody works for free. No savage capitalism. It’s wonderful here. People complain but I don’t care. I subsidize the beer made out of cheap yucca root and that keeps them happy over the week until Thursday then Friday I give them another dosis. I think we added a little natural coke to it, which is healthy too and if you don’t believe me you can ask Evo Morales. Who needs healthcare? No, we don’t. Aren’t we all… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

The problem is always with the money. We live in a world of greed. Here, Dr. Dussia, who probably has a healthy practice and time on his hands since he has time to post – has a potential solution to a terrible problem. However, instead of sharing this process or software as shareware immediately, he must make profit from it. Is this in order to survive in this world, or in order to advance? How many more lives will be lost in this process of obtaining a patent, investing in marketing, obtaining copyright infringment insurance, professional liability insurance, separating assets,… Read more »

Cindy Throop
Guest

Dr. Dussia, Thank you for your comments! It sounds like you have developed a great solution – and open source, no less! The title “Nothing Personal” was a play on words. There is no single person, entity, hospital system, medical facility, software system, etc. to blame for the current health care crisis. There are many wonderful people out there who are developing, implementing, and sharing solutions. When I say the “health care system” is broken, what I mean is that there is simply no overarching system in place in the U.S. It functions as countless pockets of caring and generosity… Read more »

Evan Earl Dussia, II, MD
Guest

Dear Mrs. Throop,
I messed that up. Not only did I misspell your name, I missed the fact that the poor man with the distended bladder was Mr. Holliday.
The rest of the post is accurate.
Sincerely,
Evan Earl Dussia, II, MD

Evan Earl Dussia, II, MD
Guest

Dear Mrs. Troop, I am sorry that you think the “healthcare industry is broken.” Thankfully, when the clinicians’ attention was turned to your husband, instead of the “electronic health record,” he received the care he needed. The current frenzy over EMR’s and “meaningful use” has deflected focus away from the practice of medicine and ignores the obvious. What is broken is the fact that many EMR vendors are competing in the same space, the business domain. They offer no solutions for busy practitioners in the clinical domain, where the clinicians operate. Your husband’s “badly distended” bladder is not uncommon. A… Read more »

Evan Earl Dussia, II, MD
Guest

Dear Mrs. Troop, I am sorry that you think the “healthcare industry is broken.” Thankfully, when the clinicians’ attention was turned to your husband, instead of the “electronic health record,” he received the care he needed. The current frenzy over EMR’s and “meaningful use” has deflected the focus away from the practice of medicine and ignores the obvious. What is broken is the fact that many EMR vendors are competing in the same space, the business domain. They offer no solutions for busy practitioners in the clinical domain, where the clinicians operate. Your husband’s “badly distended” bladder is not uncommon.… Read more »