Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


The Ideal Electronic Health Record

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

I type ideas into my computer so I do not forget them. I do not know if the following is a quote from someone or something I simply wrote down. I apologize to the person if someone else said it.

A given: Free societies tend naturally toward a “Katrina mentality” of doing nothing until something happens. Have we done anything yet?

September 11 was less ‘a failure of imagination’ than an inability to see that America’s enemies were hiding in plain sight. They still are. Have we done anything yet?

The same mentality applies to developing the Ideal Electronic Health Record (EHR). The answer is in plain sight! The barriers are the vested interests that are benefiting from the present medical infrastructure. It is difficult to be innovative and imaginative when you are experiencing success. Many successful businesses feel anything innovative, imaginative or noble could decrease their present success. It is also difficult to express innovation and imagination in a hierarchical bureaucracy. Therefore “mature” businesses and organization become ossified.

The problem in a free society is you can only become chief of the bureaucracy (most of the time) if you do not use your imagination and do not make waves.

I believe the internet, and blogosphere are going to change all of the ossification of innovation and imagination our society has experienced recently. They are truly democratizing. The internet and blogosphere permit people to think, be imaginative and innovative through the ease of free expression offered by RSS.

The great power of a free society is individual freedom of speech, a free press and freedom of communication. We have lost some of these freedoms in the last 70 years with the development of hierarchical bureaucracy and consolidation of the press.

Robert Scobies’ book Naked Conversations is a must read. The subtitle is “How blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers.” We are in the midst of a revolution in how we do business. Most of us can not visualize it yet. In general, societies do not understand the paradigm shifts as they are in the process of occurring.

In the development of the ideal EHR the answer is hiding in plain sight. I believe I established the fact that the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) should be broadened to an Electronic Health Record (EHR). I have also established the fact that the Health Savings Account (HSA) should be expanded to a Medical Saving Account (MSA)

In the Repair of the Healthcare System the key question is where does the healthcare system spend most of the money?

1.Eighty to ninety percent of the money is spent on the complications of chronic diseases. We all accumulate chronic disease as we go through life. As I said previously, medical physicians have become very expert at fixing things that are broken. The medical profession has just started to develop systems of care for chronic illnesses in order to prevent complications of chronic diseases. If we have systems of care for the treatment of chronic disease in place, and could execute the practice of evidence based medicine efficiently in a clinical setting, we could reduce the complication rates of diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, muscular skeletal disorders, hypertension and heart disease by at least 50%. If we were perfect we could probably reduce the complication rate by 80%

The math is simple. Diabetes Mellitus costs the healthcare system in direct cost $150 billion per year. The cost of complications is eighty percent (80%) of $150 billion, or $120 billion per year. A fifty percent reduction in cost means a $60 billion dollar savings to the healthcare system for diabetes. However, the disease management has to be done correctly.

Can a system of disease management be set up to reduce the complication rate of Diabetes Mellitus?

It has been by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist for Diabetes Mellitus. Any physician can execute this system of intensive diabetes self management in his office. The most important person in the system of care is the patient. It is a system that teaches the patient intensive diabetes self management. Intensive means the patient is taught how to normalize his or her own blood sugar. A normal blood sugar will avoid the complication of diabetes mellitus. The system of intensive diabetes self management teaches the patients to be the “Professor of Their Disease”.

Patients are responsible for their own care. The physician is the coach that helps fix some errors in patients self management. The care paradigm can be put in an Electronic Health Record (EHR). Both the patient and physician can share all the results including the blood sugar tests the patient does and the lab work the physician does with a web based EHR. If the banking system can do it with online banking, medicine can do it!

The interoperability of the EHR includes a pharmacy history of the patient’s compliance with medications that are ordered. The pharmacy must interact with the patient/physician electronic health record every time a refill is given. The physician can then through the EHR calculate the patient’s compliance with medication.

Compliance is a huge problem. If the patient does not take the medication the medication can not protect against the complications of disease. If the patient is educated (patient education is under compensated or not compensated presently by the insurance industry) and is responsible for their own healthcare dollar with a Medical Savings Account (MSA), the patient will become motivated to demand and will pay for education. It is easy for patients to understand that not only is their health at risk but their own money is also at risk.

An imaginative person in an unimaginative facilitator stakeholder industry can start seeing how this one element (Chronic Disease Management) is the one answer to the run away healthcare costs. The answer is in plain sight. The current information technology expertise is available. The EHR has to be created to add value to the patient/physician interaction for both the economic and quality care benefit of the both primary stakeholders. It is inappropriate and doomed to failure if it is formatted for the secondary stakeholders. It has to be driven by the patient. It has to have interoperability between medical and financial lines. The patient has to be given incentive to drive the system.

I will continue to expand on the ideal EHR.

I will continue to build on the ideal electronic medical record.

  • shel israel

    Thanks for your kind mention of Naked Conversations the book I co-authored with Robert Scoble. I would apprecaite your crediting me as co-author in your post.

  • EMR Saves Lives

    Development requires feedback from companies. A lot needs to be done, but implementation of basic systems is the first step.

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