What if patients took charge of their medical records?

patients track own medical records

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A patient steps into your office, you ask him how he’s recovering from recent surgery. He starts giving you all the details, at least those he can remember.  Here’s the usual dilemma: do you trust the information your patient shares? Is it reliable enough to use for follow-up care?

As doctors, it’s definitely a problem to trust a patient’s subjective memory, but in many cases, this is the only data you have, sometimes you don’t even have access to a patient’s relevant medical records.

A recent infographic shows, 50% of the data primary care physicians send out to specialists gets lost. In addition, in about 75% of post admission visits, doctors don’t have access to the patient’s hospitalization report. Even though electronic health records should be helping the flow of information, lag times between medical centers and out-of-network care can slow down the relay of patient records.

So what can physicians do to make better decisions? There are now a few apps out there that allow patients to track their own information and carry it with them to their entire medical team.  These apps, such as Hello Doctor, can track blood work, doctors notes, contact information for collaborating health care practitioners, prescriptions and more.

Collecting medical records empowers and educates patients, making them more involved in their own care.  If they are unsure of a treatment they can simply go look for clarification.  Being able to pool medical information into one portable location can make it more efficient for the physician as well because they won’t need to track down lab work and other bits of data.

As a physician do you think patient control of medical data is a good idea?  Have you had patients come in with information that helped or even altered your planned treatment?  If you’re an M.D. or D.O. we’ll be discussing this more inside the Sermo community.  Come join us.

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