The time it takes a physician to review, organize and understand your electronic medical records could be used much more effectively to merely ask you questions and spend time with you to assess your health care needs at the time of the initial visit. (The average physician visit in this country at present is seven minutes.)
There are rules and regulations, especially under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which prevents sharing information unless you have written permission from a patient.
I frequently have witnessed patients in the lobby or hallway of my clinic sharing stories regarding their health care and their present and previous illnesses. They show each other their scars and tell horror stories and miracles that have occurred with health care.
However, a physician who may need to share critical information with a family member, spouse or other loved one is unable to do that without specific written permission from the patient. I am not sure who is being protected in this scenario.
Electronic medical records may be a lot of things, but monetary savings is not one of them.
The cost of purchasing the hardware and software and the long learning curve to make health care professionals proficient at using even just 5 percent of a system's capabilities will be very expensive in the short run and the long run.
Hugh Murray is a physical therapist at CPT Physical Therapy Specialists Inc. in Charleston, a McKenzie Certified Clinic.
Other Lifestyles HeadlinesCountry Living: Raising own meat creates bond with food