Disasters, Health Care, and Self Reliance

No better time to recognize the importance of the EHR – your personal Electronic Health Record

Super Storm Sandy had five states in a stage of confusion. Electricity was slowly restored.  People, not cars, were waiting in gas lines for hours with gas cans in hand.  Food is in short supply.  Thousands of people continue to live in homes that are deemed uninhabitable.  The situation was, and still is, a disaster.  These were only the immediate problems these amazingly resilient people where facing.  Long term issues are rapidly approaching.

As a Board Certified Emergency Room Specialist, I deal with the medical situations that develop as a result of disasters. There are thousands of people in these stricken states that had significant medical problems long before this Category One storm hit the East Coast.  Hurricane Sandy has exacerbated their conditions, and has manifested new problems in many as health conditions deteriorate without basic municipal services.

With current conditions, doctors’ offices without electricity cannot operate, and will be closed to their patients.  Your local hospital, the one that always treated you, is either inundated with patients, or incapacitated by the effects of the storm.  The years of medical information that have been created specifically about you and your health problems can be difficult to obtain.  Physicians you have never seen before will expect you to give your entire medical history in a matter of minutes.  Can you tell him everything he needs to know?

The true challenge of today’s healthcare system is obtaining quality, accurate medical care.  A requirement of a good electronic health records system includes having your personal medical information immediately available to your doctor.  With so many people changing their physicians and insurance plans on a frequent basis the following questions have to be addressed:

  • Where are my health records now?
  • How can my new doctor or hospital obtain my medical information now?
  • How can an elderly person, who may not recall their history and medications, receive good health care?

In the event of disasters like Super Storm Sandy that recently occurred on the East Coast, Hurricane Katrina that devastated the south, or the high magnitude earthquake predicted for the West Coast, being prepared is the most important survival technique.  If you have a significant medical condition, or are responsible for multiple family members, the personal Electronic Health Record, (EHR) can be the best insurance you can have.  A quality personal electronic health record will provide the following specifics:

  • The EHR empowers you to have complete control and access of your records
  • The EHR must follow you regardless of where you seek medical care, giving instant access and medical information to any doctor or healthcare provider
  • The EHR is completely secure and totally private, yet accessible with your permission 24 hours a day, anywhere
  • Both you and your physician can easily develop and maintain the medical information
  • You develop a personal health record (PHR), in addition to your electronic medical record (EMR), consisting of doctor dictated medical records by all physicians involved in your care
  • The EHR must be a continuously developing journal of one’s health care with contributions by all physicians involved
  • Your healthcare provider must be able to rapidly access information relevant to your issues
  • Your PHR provides your doctor with your personal information, complete health history, medication log, allergies to medications, foods, and adverse drug reactions, but must also contain your insurance information, and emergency contacts list

Your health impacts every aspect of your life, and should be one of your highest priorities.  When minutes count, a well developed EHR makes a tremendous difference in the care you receive.  For an EHR system to benefit you, and your treating physicians, it must provide information regarding all your medical conditions, giving you the power to obtain the best health care, and the comfort of knowing it will happen because of your preparation. This is the time to consider having your own personal Electronic Health Record.  There are hundreds of medical records systems created for doctors and hospitals.  There are very few personal electronic health records systems, and they empower you to obtain the best healthcare available.

To learn more about personal Electronic Health Records visit:
www.theEHRblog.com.
www.KISemr.com

 

Dr. Martin H. Orens is a board certified emergency room physician. With more than 25 years of experience caring for patients, Dr. Orens recognizes the critical importance of readily accessible, comprehensive medical records. Some years ago, he envisioned a system in which patients would have the ability to obtain and provide their own valuable medical information at all times, anywhere in the world—a particularly indispensable service in times of urgent or emergency care.  Dr. Orens realized his dream by launching KARE Information Services (KIS) Electronic Health Records.  He is the president and founder of KIS, which offers a secure, yet easily accessible personal Electronic Health Records (EHR) system that empowers patients and helps health care providers to better serve them. For more information please visit http://www.kisemr.com.

What’s Wrong With Our Healthcare System?

“U.S. surgeons operate on the wrong person or body part as often as 40 times a week.”
“Hospitals cause 100,000 medical errors yearly.”
“One study of Medicare patients found 1 and 7 die or were harmed by their hospital care.”
“The number of patients who die each year from hospital in errors is equal to four jumbo    jets crashing each week.”

American hospitals have been providing fantastic care everyday to patients across our wonderful nation.  At the same time the errors that occur on a regular basis have been increasing and costing lives.  The vast majority of people cared for by our medical professionals have had outstanding results, improving the quality of life, with the patient returning to a healthier lifestyle.  If a loved one is one of the few who suffers from a medical error, you understandably don’t care about the thousands of positive “good outcomes” your hospital has provided.  Statistically, you have about a 1 in 400 chance that a medical error might affect your healthcare.
In a famous report from 1999, To Err Is Human, the public became aware of some startling statistics.  This report brought to light the fact that about 100,000 patients are the casualties of medical mistakes and prescription errors annually.  Unfortunately, in the past 12 years these numbers have not significantly changed.  The report called for a 50% reduction in medical mistakes and errors over the next five years.  Unfortunately as of 2007, no significant change has occurred.   With the increasing complexity of our medical management systems and healthcare organizations these medical errors go unrecognized.
One study regarding Medicare patients found that 1 in 7 was harmed during their hospital admission.  Another shocking statistic suggested that the number of patients who die each year from hospital errors is equivalent to four jumbo jets crashing each week.  These types of headlines use the “fear factor” to gain your attention and make you read further.  They serve only the author of the article, or the news reporter on the 6 o’clock news.
So how does one protect oneself from hospital errors?  Advocates agree that one of the best ways to protect yourself is by having direct access to your medical records.  In fact, the best way to ensure you receive the highest level of medical care with as little error as possible is to be empowered to provide your healthcare provider with the most comprehensive, error free health history you can provide.  With the evolution of the personal electronic health record, you become “the conservator of your medical records”, the one in control of all your health information.  KIS Electronic Health Records (KIS-EHR) is the first patient driven electronic health record system created to empower you, the patient, to completely inform and educate any healthcare provider regarding all your medical problems.  Regardless of the situation, a medical emergency, or a first-time visit to a doctor, KIS-EHR provides a comprehensive, continuously evolving medical journal with contributions from every Physician, past or current, caring for you.  There is no other service like KIS Electronic Health Records that can have such a significant impact on your healthcare experience.  Take a look at the many services KIS-E HR provides by going to www.KISemr.com.   See the features that can prevent unnecessary tests and procedures, save you money, and protect you from dangerous medical errors and prescription mistakes.  KIS Electronic Health Records (KIS-EHR) might just be the best insurance you can have.

Interview in “Men & Health: It’s a Guy Thing”

KIS-EHR founder Dr. Martin H. Orens had the opportunity to explain his novel service to the editors at “Men & Health: It’s a Guy Thing,” a blog to provide male members of the baby-boomer generation (and women as well) with useful health information.  You can read the article, “A Southern California emergency room physician launches a program to close the gap between doctors and patients,” on Scott Keith’s blog.

The New England Journal of Medicine Study on EHRs

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study last month that found medical practices that used EHRs were more likely to provide health care aligned with accepted standards than practices that relied on paper records. Protect yourself and make sure you know why EHRs are important.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/pPK5US

Empower Yourself: Open the Lines of Communication Between You and Your Doctor

Our lives have been greatly enhanced by the many technological advances of the day – one being patient-driven electronic health records (EHRs) that store important medical information that is easily accessible anywhere, anytime. Having crucial medical information at your fingertips allows you to communicate with any doctor about your past and present health issues in terms that they can understand.

As the human body is so complex and with the many medical specialists available, your overall health is dependent on your ability to relay the findings of one specialist to another. The best solution is to have a continuously developing medical journal with contributions by all of your doctors working together through the sharing of your medical information, critical lab results, doctor observations, allergy information, prescription orders, etc. A patient-driven EHR is empowering because it allows you to give any doctor, hospital or healthcare provider of your choice access to your entire medical history.

This freedom to share your information with the healthcare provider of your choice not only opens the lines of communication between you and your doctors, but also can be one of the most important factors in saving your life in an emergency.  As an emergency room specialist, I have seen first-hand how important an EHR can be. The medical information obtained from an EHR can save the attending physician time – which is the most critical when facing an emergency. EHRs can also reduce medical costs, prevent unnecessary laboratory tests and procedures, securely house radiology and lab results, and indicate any drug-to-drug adverse reactions.

By starting a patient-driven EHR, you are empowering yourself to increase communication between you and your doctor, and your doctors with each other.  Making an accurate informed diagnosis is dependent on the quality of the information available to a physician.  Your personal EHR provides information from all of your physicians.  The more information the better – especially when it comes to making an informed diagnosis in the quickest amount of time.

Why Patients Should Be More Involved In Their Health Care

As our country struggles with the spiraling out-of-control cost of health care, everyone must face a new reality:  how to best obtain quality medical care without becoming a casualty of the crippled healthcare system.  In fact, medical service providers nationwide are being forced to concentrate on ways to limit services, yet still increase premiums.  Even those who have the best healthcare insurance are being presented with new limitations to their medical care.  Each of us has a personal responsibility, not just the seriously ill, but as citizens investing in this nation’s healthcare system, to take responsibility for our own health care.  Only then can we expect the best medical care services available.

Today every individual can assist in obtaining the highest level of health care accessible.  The priority is to empower the patient with information, to ensure their doctor knows everything there is to know about their current and past medical conditions.  To achieve this, a personal, patient driven electronic health record (EHR) is needed. The healthcare profession has openly endorsed the patient- driven EHR.  Every physician cares about their patients, their immediate medical condition, and past medical problems. 

As a physician, I know that doctors everywhere want their patients to be more involved in their health care.  We value a patient who provides us with a complete medical history.  The benefits of patient-driven EHR, and the healthcare partnership it creates between the patient and their doctor means a lot to both parties.  Both have immediate access to a complete EHR, which has contributions by every healthcare professional involved in the history of the member’s care.

The responsible person (the patients themselves, or their conservator) of the patient-driven EHR is directly involved in the care.  Rather than just sitting in the waiting room waiting to be seen, EHR members and their families are empowering themselves to get the best health care available, and insure quality of life.  Family members can rest assured that their ailing loved ones are being treated by a physician who is well-informed via the documents contained in a personal EHR.  These are the very same patients, many of whom have been written off by their healthcare insurance providers, who are taking control of their medical care by using a patient-driven electronic health record service. Their medical care is improved, medical mistakes and medication errors are prevented, and they live a healthier life.

When disaster strikes, are your health records safe and immediately Available?

As a board certified emergency room physician, I am passionate about helping people see the importance of having an online medical file for their families. It’s hard enough keeping track of one person’s health records in normal circumstances. Have you asked yourself the question, “Will my family’s health records remain accessible in the wake of a natural disaster?”  You need to take proactive actions in advance since medical offices and hospitals are just as prone to fire, flooding, tornadoes and earthquakes as any other structure. When the staff has been evacuated, the hard copies of medical records connected to hundreds of patients are, in most cases, left to the destructive forces of nature.  

To prevent this loss of medical records, and have them readily available to any physician in an emergency, it makes perfect sense for the patient to have their families’ medical history available online, on a secure and reliable server.  For families who manage a host of sensitive medical issues and challenges, having an Electronic Health Record (EHR) they can rely on is critical in life or death situations.

Upcoming Regulations and EHR’s

Under President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus law, a new set of federal regulations mandates that health records must be available electronically – essentially obliging all healthcare providers to upload all medical records on an electronic system. While the new law is meant to protect patients, it may not be the best solution. Having medical records available electronically does not always allow doctors or hospitals to share the information with each other. To best benefit everyone, a universal system that protects patients and aids healthcare professionals in accessing medical records is needed.

I have developed this electronic health record (EHR) technology system to solve the issue of patients not being able to access or share medical information with any doctor, laboratory or hospital of their choice. KIS Electronic Health Record (KIS-EHR), is a technologically advanced web-based service that allows patients to manage the accessibility of their health records. Low in cost, KIS-EHR is a secure, comprehensive digitized medical record system that can be accessed at any time, from anywhere.

Under the regulations from the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, hospitals, physician offices and other medical facilities must fulfill the government’s goal of universal adoption of EHRs by 2014. With no distinct system to implement, healthcare professionals are left to utilize private services that may not communicate with each other. With KIS-EHR’s patient-driven service, doctors can comply with federal regulations by uploading all health records onto the new online platform and serve the patient’s best interest as well.

A personal, patient-driven EHR allows for:

  • Single source that is accessible 24/7 anywhere in the world;
  • Easy to update and streamlining of medical history;
  • Avoidance of costly and unnecessary repetition of tests and procedures through record keeping;
  • Quick and easy access to prior care to reduce the risk of medical errors;
  • Glance at review of immunizations, specialist reports and prescription-related issues;
  • Secure measures to keep information private;
  • Key individuals to share information with multiple health care providers for time-saving collaborations;
  • Encrypted KIS database to comply with HIPAA compliances and HHS requirements; and
  • Open communication between healthcare providers.