If you want to get a bunch of clinicians riled up make them really mad ask them to describe the problems with their current electronic medical record.
So when a company like Apple announces it plans to introduce an electronic medical record of sorts, we should rejoice, right?
This is the company, after all, that leveraged the Think Different and It Just Works slogans to boast about how easy their products are to use.
However, before we can celebrate that a famous tech giant will solve the EMR quagmire, remember that this is the same battlefield that has so far flummoxed Google and, to some extent, Microsoft.
Both those tech giants have struggled to bring sense, accuracy, and usefulness to the chaos of our medical information. The million lines of code written by their software engineers may live somewhere on hard drives and servers, but they are little more than historical records of a failed enterprise.
Think the software equivalent of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Ouch.
Given these past lukewarm approaches, I’d recommend that Apple not be too ambitious.
Instead, they should focus on information that is simple, highly useful, and lends itself perfectly to a unified electronic medical record.
Not only that, it’s ID related. And every clinician and patient will benefit.
Apple, please build us a Universal Immunization Record.
Here are the features of this must-have service.
- Every person would have access to their record through a user friendly secure access. No complicated password requirements.
- Information would instantly synchronize across multiple locations, akin to what Dropbox has perfected.
- Patients would grant access to their clinicians or other vaccine stakeholders, who would be able instantly to review and to update the information.
- It will be entirely agnostic about operating system, platform, or device.
Just think how care would be transformed with a widely adopted Universal Immunization Record.
- No more ambiguity about school entry requirements or hassles about forms.
- Which pneumococcal or meningococcal vaccine has been administered? Sudden clarity.
- The problem of employee influenza vaccination tracking solved.
- International immunization records will easily cross borders no passport required!
- Pharmacy or health department or employer gave your patient a vaccine? No problem, now you can find it.
- Using antibody titers as a marker of prior immunization? A thing of the past and good riddance, it’s fraught with false negatives.
- Possible vaccine repetition, “just in case”? Whether on the inpatient service, in outpatient clinics, in travel clinics, or in emergency rooms, say goodbye to this wasteful practice.
- Apple, you might be tempted to add a few bells and whistles to this straightforward immunization record say a list of medications, or allergies, or lab results, or surgical procedures, or (heaven forbid), doctor notes.
But you need to walk before you can run, so I strongly suggest you keep things as simple as possible.
Start with the vaccines. Master that first.
You could even argue that, with vaccines so globally valued (minus the anti-vaxxer fringe), that this Universal Immunization Record will be your company’s thank you gift to humankind for buying so many of your products.
A little something you can do with that nearly 1 trillion dollars you have lying around for a rainy day.
Date: Jan 28, 2018