Data, data, everywhere yet not available when needed

Certainly, I am not the only one who has experienced the lack of data in ER or clinic or hospital visit? You arrive after calling telehealth, you expect the triage nurse to have your record and history at least the chief complaint you just spent time explaining. But usually you are given a form to fill in and asked the same questions again.

In the province of Ontario there is no end of healthcare databases, repositories and electronic health records. Some 80% of doctors use an EMR, every hospital and CCAC have electronic records, local health connect networks gather health data; provincial data is available for OHIP, Lab data and imaging. Who has the data?

Health Quality Ontario, eHealth, LHINs, CCIM so many agencies and data collection systems and websites. Where is my data when I need it and want it? When I go to a walk-in clinic or am at a hospital outside of my city or even when my doctor refers me to a specialist my record isn’t available. Repeating the same question and repeating the same tests and wasting time, effort and money.

There is a solution and it’s not impossible. Give each patient a summary after each visit. It should be timely. Within 24 hours after an appointment or visit you should have the clinic notes, time, date, doctors name and any follow up needed. If this was required and mandated every doctor, hospital and clinic would have electronic records.

Giving patients their records also will put all the personal health information where it belongs. Once all records are electronic, having it accessibility when and where it’s needed will be simpler. Patients will have access to all their health information and doctors can connect and share records. It’s not a dream, it is a vision. What we need is action to make it happen.

With one simple change is practice it can be achieved. We as consumers and voters need to speak loudly and insist  that we receive a summary after every visit. This is no different then getting a receive after going to a store or transaction receipt from an ATM.