Hospital stay points out need for health information technology

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A recent stay in Hartford Hospital has highlighted the importance of electronic medical records for my personal health care. My doctor’s office, which is located in Hartford Hospital but is apparently not really part of the Hospital, has electronic medical records but Hartford Hospital does not. When I was admitted to the hospital, my doctor’s office faxed over some general information about me, but not a complete medical history. This meant that I had to review my medical history with a doctor even though it was all in the chart in my doctor’s office. The doctors (I saw different ones over the couple of days I was in the hospital) asked me repetitive questions and questions that could have been better answered by a doctor or my medical chart. What if I accidentally gave them the wrong information or forgot to include important facts? Even if Hartford Hospital does get electronic medical records of their own, it is important for them to be able to access information from different doctor’s offices outside of the hospital.

Before my hospital stay, my doctor had sent me to see a specialist, also located in Hartford Hospital but not part of it, and because they were both located in the Hospital, I assumed the specialist would have access to my electronic medical records from my doctor. They did not. This meant that there was information I had to make sure the specialist knew about my situation so they could give me a thorough checkup. It would have been much easier if the specialist’s office had access to the electronic medical records from my doctor’s office. I worry about the care of patients who aren’t organized, with failing memories or because of their illness cannot answer doctors’ questions.
Jen Ramirez