Editor's Note: which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with Kumar Yogesh, MD, a practicing independent physician in Dresden, Tennessee. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
During the good old days, physicians were considered the pillar of the community and the role of primary care physician (PCP) was a respected position. I'm guessing that during that time, we, the physicians, assumed the role of custodians of patients’ medical records.
RELATED READING: Top 11 gripes physicians have with patients
In today's world of electronic medical record systems, we all have realized that tremendous unnecessary data is being generated to satisfy regulatory agencies and billing systems. Patients have taken it on themselves to see multiple physicians while marginalizing the concept of PCP. In such an environment, being custodian of these records is becoming increasingly cumbersome, useless and very expensive.
I would like to propose a novel idea to our fellow physicians. It may sound unconventional in the beginning, however, if you ponder carefully, it is very doable. Tremendous amounts of time, energy and money can be saved and redundancies eliminated, resulting in much less stress for our staff and much less destruction with performance and duties of physicians. Let all physicians unite and demand to relinquish control of medical records and transfer this responsibility to the patient.
HOT TOPIC: It's about time PCPs say enough is enough
Recently, I had quite a revealing experience during the acute illness of my father, who was in India, requiring an emergency visit for me to go there. He had acute urinary obstruction and acute renal failure. By the time I arrived, he had already received excellent care by a urologist and nephrologist with procedures such as cystoscopy and nephrostomy. He was home recovering and I was pleasantly surprised that he had all the detailed records, including ultrasound, CT films and physician notes in his possession.