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Healthcare Innovation: Personal EMR App Needed Now!

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I want an EMR app. I want it badly. I want it now. It shouldn't be that big a deal. Where are all my choices? What's wrong?

Who cares more about my health than I do? Who has more right to hold my medical records than I do? I should have a simple app that contains all my medical and health records, whether generated by me, a doctor's office or a hospital. I should be able to have that data encrypted and backed up to the cloud, from which I should be able to access it myself or grant access to it by others. It should be easy for me to get the records concerning me from any medical facility I visit - including fancy stuff like MRI's. It should also be easy to upload my medical records from the past and from other institutions - including the all-important medical history, which is normally handled in such a slap-dash way, too often peppered with errors and omissions.

Think about banks. They only have my money because I choose to deposit it with them. They provide regular statements, and on-line access to what I've got and my transactions. I can withdraw any portion of it whenever I choose. It's my money, after all - and they're charging fees.

Now think about a doctor's office. They only have records about my visit because I choose to go there. I'm paying them for their services, including making tests and keeping records. It's my data - taken from me with my permission, and paid for by me. How dare they not make every effort to make access to my data be as convenient as possible for me? If a bank made it as hard to withdraw money as hospitals make it to withdraw my own medical records, how long do you think the bank would stay in business? Is sending a bunch of data to my phone really harder than going into a vault and counting out the cash I request? Of course not - they just can't be bothered!

Today, of course, all my records are scattered about, some in each medical place I've visited. They're stored in different systems that are incompatible. Even software from the same vendor that are installed in different institutions don't talk with each other! And they certainly don't talk with me - and if I insist, the best I can get from most of them is a bunch of paper. Uhhh ... people ... computers have been around for a while now, and there are things called WiFi and the internet that are supposed to make things easier. The people who use them seem to like them. Why don't you check them out??

Here's the worst part - the whole medical establishment thinks in terms of them sharing my medical records among themselves. Instead of giving them to me. The patient. Whose records they are. They can think of nothing but, with prodigious effort and great expense, somehow getting all their systems to talk with each other. They can barely keep their own systems working, much less get them to intercommunicate.

Which they can't do yet. I got an MRI at an office on west 57 st in Manhattan. I had an appointment with a doctor at a major medical center a few blocks away. I did what I was instructed to do - I walked to the MRI place, waited while they made a DVD of my scan, and then walked to the hospital, gave it to a nurse, and waited while it was loaded in. Years ago, we sneeringly called this "sneaker-net." Unfortunately, sneaker-net is alive and well in the wonderful world of self-absorbed, stone age medical computing.

The government has already spent nearly $20 billion dollars so far trying to get hospitals to use EMR's.

A multi-year contract to "upgrade" a military EMR system is worth over $10 billion dollars.

The contract ended up being awarded to Cerner for over $4 billion, at least that's what they're saying now.

These figures are absurd. And after all that money, the systems crash, they're incompatible with each other, and they're filled with incorrect and incomplete information.

That's one big reason why I want my own EMR app, with all my data in it. I can study it and do research at my leisure. I can take it with me. I can complete and correct my history. I can get new providers and their systems up to speed with me and my issues quickly and without the usual labor-intensive paper stuff, replete with errors and omissions. And best of all, it will cost considerably less than a billion dollars.

I'm ready. How about an open source project for it - if it makes sense to build and support linux this way, why not My EMR App? Anyone? But I'll take it any way I can get it.