I have been thinking again about people’s medical information recently.
First of all, most people have no copy of their own health information. Recently a family member went for an annual physical, and the clinician dutifully addressed the question of colonoscopy. My relative thinks she had one in the past few years, but the doctor doesn’t have a record, and no one is sure how to find it.
I told my relative that when they do locate the results, she should get a copy and keep it. And keep copies of her laboratory results too, for that matter. “Why would I do that? Doctors keep those things.” was her response.
Sigh. Hasn’t she noticed how often doctors can’t find something, or don’t have it?
When I take my car to the shop to have something serviced, I keep a record of what was done. Same goes for any work done on my home. And many people I know do the same.
However, those same people generally don’t think to keep records of what was done to their bodies. Even though it’s arguably more important than what was done to their cars.
Furthermore, if you decide to take your car to a new mechanic — maybe you weren’t sure about the old one, or maybe you moved to a new town — would you show up with no records of the work done on your car so far?
Well, you might, but it’s not a great idea. When assessing the state of a car — or a person’s health — it’s extremely useful to know what has happened in the past, and what other professionals have done or attempted, when it comes to diagnostics and treatment plans.
So really, why don’t more people maintain at least a rudimentary personal health record? [Read more…]