Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2007

A push for patient control

Lawmaker advocates for health records proposal

August 23, 2007

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Pat Wildeman, left, vice president of Boeing Wichita Credit Union in Lawrence, visits with U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Sharon Spratt, executive director of Cottonwood Inc. Moore addressed a luncheon meeting of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday attended by about 45 people at Maceli's, 1031 N.H.

Pat Wildeman, left, vice president of Boeing Wichita Credit Union in Lawrence, visits with U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Sharon Spratt, executive director of Cottonwood Inc. Moore addressed a luncheon meeting of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday attended by about 45 people at Maceli's, 1031 N.H.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore wants Americans to be able to carry around their personal medical records in a microchip-embedded credit card for easy, controllable access.

The way he figures it, this kind of plastic actually could save big money.

"If we were to implement something like this nationwide, we could save : more than $160 billion a year," said Moore, D-Kan., who was in Lawrence on Wednesday for a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce luncheon. "That's a lot of money."

But that's only the beginning of Moore's push to pass the Independent Health Record Trust Act, a bill that would establish a "modern, market-driven approach" to building a National Health Information Network - a collection of independent trusts to handle patients' health records on a voluntary basis.

Patients would have the option of submitting their medical records to be managed by nonprofit trusts. The trusts would be charged with ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of each consumer's sensitive medical information.

No longer would the keeping of medical records be limited to specific locations, such as the offices of a person's family physician, ophthalmologist, oncologist or other specialists. The trust would have the information.

And patients could limit their providers' access to certain information. A person's dermatologist, for example, might be denied access to a patient's mental health history.

"The patient has total control over the medical record - as far as what records go in and, more importantly, total control over what goes out to other doctors," said Moore, noting that he'd discussed the issue at length with his wife, a registered nurse. "We could cut down on medical errors, have better medical records and reliable records."

Using computer technology, Moore said, would allow hospitals and clinics to "get rid of yards and yards of paper files right now, a lot of which are difficult and expensive to maintain and are inaccurate."

Moore is sponsoring the bill along with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Another 48 representatives have signed on as co-sponsors, including U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan.; and former Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.

Comments

sammyk 7 years, 11 months ago

FYI It is HIPAA. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996).

usesomesense 7 years, 11 months ago

While this is a no brainer for patients it will likely have resistance from the medical community, HIIPA policy makers and probably most importantly Insurance Companies. A few years ago, my wife requested copies of her medical records. It took several calls to get them (not because they said she couldn't have them but because they didn't get it done). She decided to review them herself and found out first hand how poorly her doctors documented and summarized her visits to them. Frequently the notes indicated she was there for something almost completely unrelated.
The HIIPA policy makers have apparently overlooked the fact the privacy is a choice - not a requirement for the patient. My wife doesn't like to talk to the insurance company and the insurance company doesn't want to talk to me about my wife's stuff without a power of attorney form. This makes things difficult - she wants me to resolve the issue, but the insurance company isn't allowed to explain it to me because it was her treatment. I'm sure the Insurance Companies will complain that the cards may be tampered with to delete undesireable medical history when switching Insurance companies or something. The fact is that our medical histories are like a credit report - we should all be entitled to a regular review of them for accuracy. Furthermore we should all be able to pick up and go to another doctor when things aren't getting resolved and immediately be able to present the new doctor with everything that has been done so far for review and to prevent doubling up on lab work, x-rays, etc.

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