Some say privacy is an illusion. I hope that isn’t true, but I do know that our medical records are not safe. Why should you care? Because our medical records contain our social security numbers, health insurance information, our home addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts and their phone numbers, our email addresses, possibly our driver’s license numbers, and likely credit card payment information. Ever paid your co-pay with a ...

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Among the plethora of emails that I receive on a daily basis, there seems to always be at least one sent from my hospital’s information services department. Usually, I receive alerts about system downtime or notifications about resolved tickets. They all have the same general look and feel, and so I hardly ever question that they are official. And then I come across a communication with the message similar to ...

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During our dermatology section in medical school, a classmate recounted having had Henoch-Schonlein purpura as a child.  Over a holiday break, he visited his primary care physician and asked if he could review his records out of curiosity.  His family physician pulled out the index card that served as this man’s medical record.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It was not a chart or computer printout; rather a 4 x ...

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My most important patient requires my constant diligence. For this reason, I am seldom far away from him. Only a few minutes inattention and there will be problems. I cannot forget my patient; I am trained to attend to him constantly. I am a professional, and my patient is, ultimately, my customer and the customer’s service is paramount, I am told. I am reminded by policies and procedures as well, ...

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Adding “electronic” means sortable, searchable, bigger attic, more junk. Unfortunately, no one has the guts to actually clean it. Are urinalyses from the 90s still important, or are we just being sentimental? For everything we do in medicine, there are intended effects and side effects. During my emergency medicine residency there was a mandate that attending physicians had to see each patient cared for by their residents. While a hard transition, ...

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A decade ago, electronic health records were aggressively promoted for a number of reasons.  Proponents claimed that they would facilitate the sharing of health information, reduce error rates in health care, increase health care efficiency, and lower costs. Enthusiasts included the technology companies, consultants, and IT specialists who stood to reap substantial financial rewards from a system-wide switch to electronic records. Even some health professionals shared in the enthusiasm.  Compared to the ...

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Evolution is part of life, something we accept as a fact and evidenced by the changes we see and know compared to hundreds of years ago. No one can dispute the great technological advances that have been made; transport has been revolutionized from the animal power of horse and cart to the mechanized systems of train, plane and automobile we have today. Communication systems once reliant upon the written word and ...

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For years, many physicians have complained about the onerous nature of government-certified electronic medical records. However, thanks to the HITECH Act, the rush to digitize medical records has continued. Due to the impetus provided by the ACA and subsequently by MACRA, the mad rush has progressed into a frenzy of data-collecting and reporting activity, all in the name of value over volume. Recently, two objective reports have surfaced demonstrating the futility of ...

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I was at a locums assignment yesterday using FEEMRS. (You know, "Fancy Expensive Electronic Medical Records System.") It was all kinds of busy, with wait times of many hours. And as I slogged along, relearning FEEMRS after a few weeks away, I realized that it takes about one hour of looking at that screen for me to become exhausted. It’s just too busy. Every bit of the screen seems filled with ...

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I order pregnancy tests on men. In fact, I do it pretty frequently. Now before you go and question my professional competency, let me assure you that I went to a good medical school. I also completed a four-year residency in emergency medicine at a top-notch residency program. I was board-certified less than one year after finishing and have maintained that status ever since. Despite this, I still order pregnancy tests on men. Perhaps ...

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