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Nutrition Informatics Blog

The Case for Meaningful Use

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Not that I needed the encouragement--but I am ready for electronic health records, continuity of care, patient empowerment—how about better care than my car gets? For those of you who crossed my path this week, you know my mother had a heart catheterization on Tuesday—one that seemed to go south.  I was at the ONC Standards Committee Meeting in Washington, DC when my father called.  I seemed to catch only glimpses of what he was really saying:  “Not what they expected, stopped breathing, nicked an artery, unable to insert a stent.”   He sounded shaken so I left a bit early and decided to travel the 7 hours home to help. 

Several hours and a chaotic flow of calls later, my father convinced me to wait to travel, I could be just as effective from afar, thought it would resolve but if not, some things in life are not controllable.  

Fast forward 52 hours (not that I am counting) and my mom is at home, discharged after another test was performed the morning after the cath.  She has no results, no encouragement, no coordination of care, no clue as to what exactly the situation is.  My father’s impression vs. mine is two very different interpretations.  The crowning blow was the message from the doctor’s office this afternoon: “Once the hospital sends the discharge papers over, we will discuss with the doctor and call you.”   If we had EHRs and exchange of health information (aka: Meaningful use) the office could already have had the results and summary.

Now more than ever—I understand Dave deBronkart’s mantra: “Gimme my damn data.”


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