November 3rd, 2009 by Christian Seebode

In The Healthcare Blog DAVID C. KIBBE opens the case for widespread EHR adoption.

This excellent claim receives my full support. Anyway David considers the difficulty to have medical data available everywhere …

No, the reason why we as citizens lack routine access to even the most basic summary of our personal health information, and therefore can’t put those data to work for us as individuals or as a society, is that we lack the political, cultural, and professional will to unite these disparate and unconnected bits and pieces of information together into a Continuity of Care Record.*

This might be true but even if the will is there the mind won’t follow. A PHR is not just a word processor or a online banking application. My argument is the requirements for integrating data and information in PHRs by patients are far beyond the average patient knowledge about medicine or related information. So this is about Health Literacy. I suspect even if we only had one system worldwide and every piece of data integrated with one another and everywhere available we still wouldn’t use PHRs like we use *name of your favourite website*. So, Patient education is the key. David mentiones this but for me it is essential. Communication between patient and physician requires sometimes patience and dedication. The relevance of symptoms and information is sometimes below the ignorance threshold even of the physician. A structured PHR may facilitate this but still it is not easy to match the complexity of medical information with easy to use interfaces for patients. The participation of patients is deeply needed. But who answers all the questions ?

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