confusing lines connecting a computer, phone, folder, and cd

Electronic Medical Record Issues and Asthma Care

Sometimes the battle feels all uphill. This is how I felt when I was sent for a CT scan for my rib pain. The whole thing was a bit of a show from the beginning.

It all started with needing to reschedule an appointment

This particular diagnostic imaging center is generally faster than getting in the queue for appointments at the hospital. However, this center recently changed ownership - and to say that they were still working out the kinks would be an understatement. They have this callback confirmation service, where you need to call back or go online to confirm your appointment. Of course, mine was at the worst time - smack dab in the middle of when I was supposed to be in a work meeting.

I tried to change my appointment, which was almost impossible, and then I got a very sassy phone call about not confirming. When I tried to reach someone to inquire about an alternate time, I ended up in an infinite phone loop! This place is usually fast but of course, I chose the one day where they were 90 minutes behind schedule. I sat across from a man that looked so incredibly bored, I thought he was going to fall asleep. I was trying to stay positive by reading a magazine.

Fast forward to the next day. I get a call from my doctors' office that my rib was fractured, that there was atelectasis, mucus plugging, and that I needed an urgent pulmonology referral. I have a knack for becoming ill on long weekends, holidays, snowstorms, when I'm leaving for an international conference, and when my asthma specialist is away. This created a frenzy of trying to get the CT image.

Hung up on electronic medical record issues

Of course, I had electronic medical record (EMR) issues when the EMR systems were not compatible. There was apparently no way for the digital image to be electronically sent so it could be read by my specialist. This blows my mind that in 2019 that this could not be sent electronically. Are most EMR systems not ultimately based on 3 or 4 platforms? As hard as it is to believe in this day and age, I was literally going to have to pick up a CD.

I swear that healthcare must be the last industry to still be burning CDs and sending faxes. Don’t even get me started on the faxes. I needed to drive almost 2 hours in traffic to my specialist. Remember that leaving for an international conference thing? Ugh, I was super grumpy, in pain from my fracture, needed to find someone to come with me because the drive was a bit too much for my rib pain.

This had me thinking, why are there so many systems, why are they not compatible, and are they not suppose to make patient experiences better? Why are we failing at this? Is this because, as patients, this type of battle just falls to the bottom of our priorities?

Organizing my electronic medical records

Amongst all my care primary and specialty care, I have 7 patient portals and just two of them talk to each other. This is a lot to manage. While I can share some things between them, imaging is not one of them. Plus now I am managing records across multiple platforms.

I know there are some digital solutions to electronic medical record issues in which you can use a third party to warehouse your records. The one system that I looked at had a significant fee, and considering the complexity of my care, I did not want to be paying a fortune just to have super old labs warehoused.

How do you organize imaging files, CDs, or reports? Do you always request them? I use to get them but then no one wanted them and they are not always free. Also, I do not think that I have any technology that still has a compatible CD-ROM drive. I would love to hear your suggestions.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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