Purloined Paper Records: the solution is digital

Today’s Times of Trenton tells about the theft of children’s medical records, how it sent the mother into a panic when they were taken from her car in the driveway. She had carefully catalogued each and every doctor visit for 15 years, and now her records are gone. She is particularly concerned because her children have a disability, and her careful record keeping functioned as her lifeline to helping them “be all that they could be.”

This story is another opportunity for me to advocate for online digital health records. Anyone who uses one of these services will never lose their records, and the records can be called up in any doctor’s office or emergency room, as well as at home.

My interest was triggered by an article I did about Zweena, a Princeton-based pioneer in this area, and I also follow an epatients blog.

Online medical record storage will be jumpstarted by the switch from paper to digital. At a recent doctors’ visit, I saw the physician in a formerly paper-bound office meticulously typing in his notes into a laptop. It’s more work for him and i must have taken untold hours for this 20-doctor practice to convert from paper to computers. Before, the doctor could just dictate his notes. But it was a doctor’s bad handwriting that almost gave my husband the wrong prescription in the hospital. The pharmacy misread his script. Only my notes saved the wrong solution from being administered. If he had had to type in that prescription, this mistake might not have happened.

Alas, it will be another generation of doctors until they are all totally comfortable on the keyboard.

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