Medical Records: Getting Smarter but Not Intelligent
Unfortunately, I’ve had a few recent encounters with our healthcare system. As you would expect, I paid attention to the recordkeeping process. The spectrum ranged from paper to born-digital and has me thinking about my health records in a new way.
If you’re interested in the backstory, you can read it on my personal blog. Suffice it to say, last Friday, I needed to establish an account with a local hospital’s online health portal. My expectations were low. Healthcare professionals have always impressed me with their medical knowledge and talent, not so much with the way they embrace technology. In general, I was pleasantly surprised.
I wasn’t surprised that the results from test the taken at 2:00 AM were not available at 1:00 PM. I was surprised that the results from an MRI I had in May, from a radiology clinic affiliated with this hospital, were available.
- I found it reassuring to know that I was being given access to the same record that my providers use.
- I wondered what else is in there. For example, I can see the MRI report, but can my ENT see the images of my brain?
- I had the thought that I want to consume all my healthcare through this network – being able to access these records has marketing value.
Today, this technology serves the providers and is extended to me. The fact that I like having access to this information means I have to add a non-medical attribute to my healthcare decision-making process, or I have more work to do.
I have the option to add other caregivers to the system. I like the fact that I can grant them that permission, but I worry that they will have their own systems that they will want me to use. I worry that we’ll end up with medical Kayck/Trivago-like middlemen linking various healthcare systems. I worry that that will inevitably expose my health records to more companies.
Do you see the problem? This is information about me, but it's not my information.
This realization made me think of the AIIM ELC meeting I attended in June, where Robert Kahn, a man who was instrumental in the development of the Internet, spoke about Distributed Digital-Object Services. He described what may be the end game for Intelligent Information Management – when information belongs to the person, process, or device that collects it or whose condition it represents.
What if my medical information existed as a distributed object that had its own storage, knew who I was, who my medical providers were, who my health insurance company was, and what if these entities could access and update that record as necessary, and as permitted by me?
I can almost hear the gears turning in some of your heads – How would this work? How would it be secured? This would make a lot of today’s technology obsolete – I worked with distributed objects in the late 1990s. This can work.
Robert Kahn, a man who once said during an interview that: "…the development of the Internet was a learning experience..." says it will happen.
As we explored the future of Information Management at that ELC meeting, we discussed the ways cybersecurity, regulations and emerging and disruptive technologies like blockchain, AI and machine learning, will all play roles in that future. The summary paper will be available soon, and since it will include the experience from the European ELC, I can’t wait to see it.
About Dan Antion
Dan Antion is the former Chairman of the AIIM Board of Directors. He has spent almost 40 years developing information management systems, in a wide variety of industries. For the past 30 years, he has been Vice President, Information Services for American Nuclear Insurers, where he is responsible for data, content, and systems development across a broad range of platforms. His opinions do not represent American Nuclear Insurers, AIIM or the AIIM Board of Directors.
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