Medical records should be easy for patients
A patient’s entire record should be able to be always accessed and hold data from all taking part institutions. Most healthcare organizations do not provide patients with this accommodation, and, despite technical feasibility, they do not share their data with their competitors.
The design of electronic medical records systems should be based on public standards and should allow patients to have control over their data.
Some stresses that arise when patients are referred to a doctor may be eased by using internet-based tools that support decision support and communication.
Instead of proprietary systems, the use of open standards is an alternative to proprietary methods. If patients cannot be certain that they will only use their medical data how they intended, they might not show vital information or refrain from seeking medical care.
With the rise of online medical services, patients will manage their own health information.
Those patients have difficulty accessing their medical records because the unregulated use of that information has raised concerns about the proper use of that record. Another issue is that companies that supply the software for the record systems often want to own the patient’s data.
We should always focus the design of medical record systems on the following characteristics.
COMPREHENSIVE BUT INCLUSIVE. Because a different group of individuals provides care, each provider must have a unique set of records that can track and record different procedures and patients. These records should also include all the relevant information about the patient.
ACCESS. Medical records can be needed or at a moment’s notice. Someone can also need them when a patient is in an emergency. they should be always kept with the patient.
INTEROPERABILITY. Different electronic medical records systems should be able to share data with each other. This should happen even if they are not able to work with each other.
CONFIDENTIALITY. Deciding which parts of a patient’s medical record should be made public should be up to the patient. There are two scenarios: those who would like to keep their records private, and those who are not interested in making them public. The most important thing is that we give patients the freedom to make these decisions.
ACCOUNTABLE. All data and diagnoses entered a patient’s record must be visible to the patient.
FLEXIBLE. Most people want to share their medical data with those who are interested in learning more about their condition. However, this altruistic desire can be limited by the risk of exploitation. Some patients may also agree to more invasive studies. Others may supply limited details of their record to other parties.
CHALLENGES. Despite the technological advances in securing electronic records, people will always defeat them. They can still get legitimate access to the data without requiring deep knowledge of cryptography. The adoption of patient-controlled records will depend on the solutions that are found to address some of the most critical technical and policy issues.
Computerized medical information systems are already at the start of their evolution. We need to consider their potential and pitfalls.