The U.S. government spent $36 billion computerizing health records, yet they’re of limited help in the COVID-19 crisis.
The rapidly spreading coronavirus has led to the cancellation of sporting events, conferences and travel, with Congress and President Donald Trump scrambling to catch up to the spiraling public health crisis. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has issued long-awaited rules aimed at making it easier for patients to carry copies of their medical records. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Patients would have far more control over their health care with complete medical histories stored on their phones, proponents say.
The web-based standard FHIR — pronounced “fire” — could hasten the day when we can view our full medical histories on a smartphone screen. Tech giants are hungry for a piece of the pie, but obstacles remain.
As happens when the tech industry gets involved, hype surrounds the claims that artificial intelligence will help patients and even replace some doctors.
The federal government funneled billions in subsidies to software vendors and some overstated or deceived the government about what their products could do, according to whistleblowers.
Special interests and congressional inaction blocked efforts to track the safety of electronic medical records, leaving patients at risk.
Despite laws requiring that health care providers hand over copies of patient records in a timely fashion, many people have trouble getting theirs. Ciitizen, a Palo Alto, Calif., company that helps cancer patients with the task, recently published a scorecard that rates hospitals, doctors and clinics on their compliance with records requests.
Electronic health records can help reduce medical errors, but when not used well they can strain the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Wei Wei Lee, an internist with the University of Chicago Medicine, has developed strategies to make sure tech is a tool, not a barrier.
Some patient advocates say your doctor’s notes offer insights you might never hear from your physician, putting patient and provider on the same page.