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Embrace The Explosion Of The New Technologies

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 6:09am
Gary Oftedahl, M.D .

The world of healthcare today is much different than the one I became involved in as a physician over 35 years ago. But why should that surprise me? The world in general is so dramatically changed from that which I knew then, it would seem reasonable and totally understandable that we’ve had to make dramatic changes in how we work with the population in maintaining health. Or have we? For it seems to me that in many cases the volume-based, paternalistic, top down, cottage industry approach which served us generations ago still has a strong presence, at least intellectually and emotionally, in many in the medical profession.

It is true there are rumblings across the landscape of medicine, which bear strange and ominous acronyms — PCMH, HCH, ACO — which would bespeak of a need for fundamental changes in how we in the health care system interrelate with our patients and with each other. I mean, we’ve got computers, emails, Internet, smart phones, iPads, Second Life, to name a few of the technological advances which have changed the world in which we live.

So isn’t it strange and a bit disconcerting that many of us in healthcare hold on to a love affair with paper records, stored lovingly in extensive medical record departments, unavailable to all but a few “chosen” among us who can access that information. Heaven forbid we consider how much of a benefit it would be if the information stored in those vaults was available to our patients, others within the healthcare system, and other caregivers who touch the lives of those we see.

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