Rural vs. City Medical Record Perspective

Posted on April 20, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While at the ACP conference in San Diego (yes, it’s fun for a tech person to attend a medical conference), I had a really interesting conversation with a medical records lady from Cardone EHR Solutions. In our discussion she highlighted an interesting difference between the rural and city perspectives on a medical record.

In essence…

Rural clinics want to keep the medical record forever. City clinics want to get rid of as soon as possible.

When she said this idea, it really rang true to me. Of course, the real issue has to do with liability. The real issue is how litigious our society has become and I think it’s fair to say that those in the urban environment are more litigious than those in the rural setting. That’s why clinics in a city generally want to dispose of the record as soon as is legally possible. They don’t want to be held liable for a record that’s 20 years old. However, the rural community would be aghast at the idea that a clinic wouldn’t keep their clinical record forever. Of course, it’s quite likely that many of those in the rural community will be going to that doctor or hospital for their entire life.

I’ll admit that I’m far from an expert on the differences in these environments, but I found this perspective quite interesting. Has some interesting impacts as clinics and EHR vendors start to discuss the idea of records retention in a digital world.

Another side benefit to talking with Cardone EHR Solutions at ACP was that I got a chance to meet Dr. J. I guess it’s fitting to have Dr. J at a conference for doctors.