Enter the Personal Health Records Librarian (when Managing Patients’ Records, Part 3)

In Part 1 of this discussion of Managing Patients’ Records, a mobile healthcare digital assistant was identified.  It could help patients to be more engaged with managing their medical issues.  In Part 2 of this discussion, the patient, Anne, was described.  Her healthcare was not managed well due to miscommunication or no communication.  It was not because she did not want to follow-up.  She did not know when and for what to follow-up on in her healthcare until it was almost too late.  In order for the patient to understand what is going on, there has to be true patient engagement.

“Supporting patient engagement means fostering a fruitful collaboration in which patients and clinicians work together to help the patient progress towards mutually agreed-upon health goals…  In other words, to truly foster patient engagement, it’s not enough to just work together more closely on achieving a given health outcome. It’s also important to work together on deciding which outcomes to pursue, why to pursue them, and how to pursue them. In doing so, we engage patients in a meaningful care partnership that respects their priorities, preferences, perspective, and situation.  Communication with patients is, of course, essential to all of this. This is why any innovation that improves a patient’s ability to access and communicate with healthcare providers is proudly labeled as ‘patient engagement’ ” (http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/09/12/patient-engagement-on-metrics-and-meaning/).

The ‘wearable’ Internet of Things (IoT) allows patients to use  “ ‘devices’ from fitness & blood pressure monitors to blood analysis kits and onwards to start taking their healthcare into their own hands… The challenge facing healthcare providers is—how do we harness this user information empowerment and integrate the patient data being generated into the more formalized  healthcare system at a national level, securely” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/adrianbridgwater/2015/08/24/the-internet-of-things-doctor-will-see-you-now-and-anytime/)?

“[T]he VA’s Telehealth program made it easy for veterans to regularly report home measurements such as weight or blood pressure. And these readings were reviewed by trained nurses, who would call … patients if data entry stopped, or if a measurement triggered some kind of alert” (http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/09/12/patient-engagement-on-metrics-and-meaning/).

Clinicians or Primary Care Physicians have attempted to keep their patients engaged with their healthcare by offering them patient portals, over the Internet that would enable patients to manage their own personal health records.  “A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an Internet connection. Using a secure username and password, patients can view health information such as: Recent doctor visits; Discharge summaries; Medications; Immunizations; Allergies; Lab results” (https://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/faqs/what-patient-portal).   There appears to be no universal patient portal that could travel with a patient to any doctor when needed.  Instead, whenever a patient goes to a different doctor to meet their healthcare needs, the patient has to fill out the same information about themselves over and over again.  KLAS reported that “Epic, athenahealth and Medfusion are the most effective at helping their customers drive patient portal adoption” (http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/news-item/klas-report-names-top-vendors-driving-patient-portal-adoption).  Also, the method of coupling portals has to be resolved.

“Today, there are many healthcare and related apps available for a wide range of functions from treatment and monitoring to accessing test results or information about disease. Physicians can access symptoms, medical calculators and more via tablet apps. Patients use apps to locate doctors or monitor chronic diseases. The iPad has spearheaded a new BYOD phenomena in the healthcare sector. It allows medical professionals to work on a device of their choice taking patient engagement to the next level. Gone are the primitive days when healthcare professionals accessed information from either desktop or laptop. The iPad has facilitated innovative patient/doctor communication methods. According to research study, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a healthcare application by 2015. What has triggered this increase in numbers? One possible reason could be that healthcare professionals are no longer staying oblivious to the fact that iPad apps can have lasting effect on patient care and safety, improving efficiency of the system, and reducing costs. Healthcare apps provide a comprehensive overview of clinical guidelines, update information which could facilitate decision making by medical professionals. This extent of accessibility has its own pros and cons–but has proven to be beneficial in the healthcare sector” (http://www.healthworkscollective.com/todd-riddle/121356/ipad-applications-healthcare-industry-fad-or-future).


iPadAppsSource:  http://www.healthworkscollective.com/todd-riddle/121356/ipad-applications-healthcare-industry-fad-or-future


The problem is that the patients do not know which “app” will really help meet their healthcare needs.  Here is where the Personal Health Records Librarian enters this scene.  This type of librarian is usually hired by the patient to help alert the patient to possible questions that the patient should ask their primary care physician and specialists.  This type of librarian also organizes the patients’ records in a format that is easy for the patient to distribute to their doctors/specialists/technicians.   The librarian would provide research and references pertaining to the healthcare that the patient is experiencing, going to experience, and/or has experienced from databases like: Medscape;   PubMed/MEDLINE;  MeSH; ClinicalTrials.gov;  MedlinePlus; TOXNET.  This would be in response to informational requests pertaining to patients’ data and supporting documentation on their healthcare and health issues.  The result is data archiving and assisting the patient with data preservation of their health records in paper and digital format.   

 Stay Tuned for the further adventures of Managing Patients’ Records…..



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