ePatient’s Experience Transferring Patient Data to Google Health

Posted on April 9, 2009 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.

I just finished reading a 2800+ word post talking about e-Patient Dave’s experience transferring his patient record from his hospital PHR to Google Health. If you’ve ever been to the doctor, I think it’s worth a read to learn about how doctors are charting and a little bit about where we are in patients’ owning their own health record.

I will just share a couple quotes from his experience that really stood out. First a look at why the EHR billing centric software we have now is a major problem for the future of PHR:

The really fun stuff, though, is that some of the conditions transmitted are things I’ve never had: aortic aneurysm and mets to the brain or spine.

So what the heck??

I’ve been discussing this with the docs in the back room here, and they quickly figured out what was going on before I confirmed it: the system transmitted insurance billing codes to Google Health, not doctors’ diagnoses. And as those in the know are well aware, in our system today, insurance billing codes bear no resemblance to reality.

For the love of insurance billing codes. Nice way to ruin valuable data.

Another nice quote is about the data integrity of what’s being put into the EHR system:

And you know what I suspect? I suspect processes for data integrity in healthcare are largely absent, by ordinary business standards. I suspect there are few, if any, processes in place to prevent wrong data from entering the system, or tracking down the cause when things do go awry.

And here’s the real kicker: my hospital is one of the more advanced in the US in the use of electronic medical records. So I suspect that most healthcare institutions don’t even know what it means to have processes in place to ensure that data doesn’t get screwed up in the system, or if it does, to trace how it happened.

I know this is a major challenge for our clinic. Our medical records staff have been doing regular EHR chart audits of our providers and sometimes we’re just amazed that someone would electronically sign something in the record. I don’t know how many times we’ve said, “What were they thinking?” Certainly the same thing happened in the paper world, but it is often much harder to “fix” errors like this in an EHR.

What other methods are people using to ensure reliable data being added to their EHR system?