CommComm posted on July 17, 2012 22:10

I switched my Doctor a while back (actually my Doctor retired from Doctoring, go figure). Of course my new Doctor requested my medical records from my old one. Let's review: new Doctor wants records from old Doctor. I know it's not a complicated request, but in this case, entire Civilizations have been built with less agravation. My old Doctor's office couldn't seem to manage sending my records along. So it was the tag-team trio of my new Doctor, wife and yours truly that ultimately entered the patient records arena. We made calls. We made more calls. We implored. We questioned. (And we offered our two cents).

A variety of organizations (look at the "Solutions" section in that article) and individuals have chimed in on situations related to the triangulation of Patient/Doctor/medical records partnerships. It's been at least five months since my records were requested. I've even paid a bill sent by a company that says they transported my records. Have my records arrived? New Doc says no. The quest goes on. New Doc says she'll get to the bottom of this. At this point, maybe it's ok that I'm starting out fresh. Who needs those old records anyway. Too much backstory and new Doc might want me to get some surgery, or suggest some horse pills or mental therapy (way too late for that).

I'm starting to embrace the idea that mayhaps my records are somewhere written down by hand, and nobody ever put them into a computer. Maybe they didn't "go digital". Why didn't they? And was that a bad thing?  JAMA thinks the computer is the heavy-handed "third-party" who gets in the way of patient/Doctor engagement. We'll see how this all plays out. But for now, just the process itself has bonded me to new Doc in a way that old medical records never would.

Moral of story? Never underestimate the power of someone who cares.

Alonzo LaMont

alonzo@jhmi.edu      


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