Initial Response to Our Field Trip   1 comment

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about our visit to the new college of medicine and decided I’d post some of my initial thoughts:

First, I think we got some quite valuable information for all of our projects regarding EHRs, and I’m glad for the practicality of that.  Hearing about some more details (such as the HL7 standard, for example) was both helpful and interesting, at least for me.  However, I was rather disappointed (though not surprised) to learn that personal access to one’s own health record will be limited by insurance companies.

Also, the technology that the students have to interact with and evaluate themselves is pretty impressive, and we can hope that one day it will prove invaluable to the medical community.  On the other hand, when someone (my apologies, I forgot who) asked Nadine about the students’ learning not-so-cutting-edge technologies, it seemed like she didn’t answer the question with as much detail as she did the others.  So many hospitals still have decades-old equipment, and I’m willing to bet that very few issue their doctors with iPod Touches or iPads that have EHR apps installed and functioning as one fluid system.  Further, Nadine said that many of the students would probably intentionally seek out hospitals that offer a better selection of newer technologies.  Where does that leave the hospitals with older equipment, then?  They still need to keep a supply of new doctors on staff, too.  Granted, we didn’t get all the information, and she did say that some of the students were more willing to be residents where they might not be able to make full use of the technologies with which they’ve been getting familiar at UCF.  In my opinion, it might be helpful for the students to have additional access to practice equipment that *isn’t* so new.

Along with the technology, there’s the information: 98% of their library is digital, with a mere 802 titles (2% of 40,100 titles) available in only a physical format.  On the other hand, there are those times I prefer holding a book over reading a PDF, but the more-or-less immediate access to 39,298 digital sources is, again, impressive to me.  I didn’t even know about the Florida Lambdarail before this trip, either.

I really think this was the best “field trip” I’ve ever been on, and I encountered a lot to keep me thinking as well as a good source of information for our projects.

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Posted October 25, 2010 by wdorner in Uncategorized

One response to “Initial Response to Our Field Trip

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  1. I’m not at all contradicting the point made about insurance company control of access, but I’d like to share with you a shadow of doubt that crawled across my laptop’s screen during our meeting.

    When Nadine mentioned that she was able use Google Health to access her medical history with United Healthcare, I was immediately curious. I have United, and I saw nothing in my Google Health account that tied the two together. I went in to double-check. United has no connector to link data from their systems into Google Health. I can add that I have United coverage, but that’s it.

    I think she was able to record her coverage information (handy if one is without one’s insurance card), but I don’t think she actually got information into that system the way she was suggesting.

    The original point, however, is quite valid: Insurance companies have a huge stake in who has what kind of access to information, and they have tremendous financial and political resources to be able to direct the outcomes of this emerging discussion. It’s a bit scary, if you ask me.

    This is yet another reason I can’t have a conversation with my parents about healthcare. To them “governmental control” could easily be a profane phrase. I keep thinking of my UK-born HIV-positive friend who recently moved back to England. Before he left, he told me with impossible (by American standards) confidence that he could walk off the plane and into a clinic and get the treatment and support he needs to sustain his health. Can any of us say that, given the differences in insurance coverage?

    (Sorry for the digression, Will.)

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