We are advocating a very low tech solution for patients. Patients should keep paper copies of their medical records in a 3 ring binder. They should take the binder with them every time that they go the doctor’s office.
They should allow their doctor to look at the records, photocopy pages but must not give up originals to the doctor. If there are new tests or procedures that are done, then the patient should get the results and add them to their binder. For some reason, we have used green binders in the past. Not sure why?
Here Is A Case Study:
A 67 year old judge was developing some significant health issues. He was becoming a complex patient. On the last visit to his endocrinologist, he waited two hours and had to leave without being seen because of commitments at court. He was frustrated but resigned to staying with this excellent doctor.
Here is what we suggested:
The judge was advised to start to collect his paper medical records from all of his doctors. Each doctor’s visit was an opportunity to add to his portable medical records.
The records would be kept in a 3 ring binder. He chose a green binder. The binder would also include all his test results and imaging studies. If he could get his imaging studies on CD, then all the better. Doctors like to look at the imaging studies on CD and not rely on the paper reports.
Next we advised him to ask his endocrinologist if he could get his lab tests done and then review the results with the doctor on the phone. He realized that this might be unusual for this doctor. But if he explained how difficult that it was to get to the doctor’s office, then the doctor might agree to these pre-booked phone calls. In order to succeed with shifting to phone calls, the medical receptionist will have to be on board.
We have purchased Tim Horton’s or Canadian Tire gift cards for receptionists. The amount on the card is not more than $20. For some reason, this seems to work.
These two strategies for patients: to keep their paper medical records in a green binder and take them to all doctor’s appointments and to shift some of their interactions with their doctors to the phone are big time savers for patients.
You might want to try them out!
Note: the details of real case studies may be changed to enhance the teaching value of the material.