“Consider the following scenario. A patient is visiting a cardiologist for the first time. The physician asks the patient what medications he is taking. This is not a simple question, and the patient has trouble recalling all the necessary information: which medications he takes, the dosage for each, how often he takes them, how long he has been taking them, and the prescribing physician for each. He is not entirely sure why he has been prescribed one of them.
The patient is not alone. Most consumers find it difficult to answer at least some of their healthcare providers’ questions: “When was your last tetanus shot?” “What is your total cholesterol?” “When was your last mammogram?”
That’s because consumers see multiple healthcare providers, and they rely on those providers to keep their health information. Most consumers take little personal ownership of their information. Given that it is often not easy or even possible for providers to exchange patient data in a timely manner, both physician and patient in a given encounter may be unaware of the patient’s complete health history. The result can be a rescheduled appointment, delayed treatment, a duplicated test, or compromised care. It can also contribute to a lack of engagement by consumers in their own health.”
Julie Wolter, Beth Friedman, Journal of AHIMA 76, no.10 (November/December 2005): 28-32