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Nutrition Informatics Blog

The Dignity of Health Care

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There is no lack of discussion, opinion, statistics, or collaboration in health care today.  The drive for adoption of health information technology (HIT) and in particular, electronic health records (EHR) has brought together almost every profession in an attempt to improve health care. Last night, I had a rather interesting discussion with a scientist at the Health 2.0 Health Informatics Pulse (HIP) event in Washington, DC.  This is a “meet-up” event put on by the incredible group at Aquilent. A series of 5 minute presentations (try it—it goes by in a flash!) give way to questions and discussions on a variety of health informatics topics. 

After the presentations, there is time to mingle and meet others in this field.  As it turned out, I happened into a discussion on health care, its ails, the “nonsense of EHRs”, “meaningful use” and the HITECH Initiatives.  This well trained scientist gave me a very passionate (ok—heated) dissertation on why EHRs are a waste. “Nothing is wrong with health care.”

This discussion took me very quickly to a recent presentation by Regina Holliday, a medical advocate who is an awesome artist and muralist. Her story of caring for her husband and the angst of navigating the medical system is heartbreaking.  At a recent conference, she participated in a panel discussion on what patients want and need. In response to a question, she spoke in detail about how little information and access she had to her husband’s care and how lack of coordination near the end of his life was particularly painful.  She passionately implored need for dignity (which includes providing access, explanations and information) during the health care process. When she finished, you could have heard a pin drop in the room of 300 people. Thank you, Regina—it is not just about technology.


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