Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lessons learnt about the Healthcare system

I read this presentation by Adam Bosworth, (VP, Google) about Connecting Americans to their health care here. He speaks about the areas in healthcare which are badly in need of innovation. He mentions that there is no place individuals can go to get a comprehensive set of health and medical information about themselves. Access to this comprehensive information can be vital to proper and timely diagnosis of the patient, to the patient getting the best possible treatment, and, perhaps sometimes overlooked, to the patient getting the best possible ongoing care and support after the initial treatment, especially for chronic illnesses.

We experienced some parts of this during this last one and half years. The diagnosis got delayed for reasons like medical records moving from one doc to another, incomplete records, etc. We are still experiencing this, to get a diagnosis for my dizziness. More than once, I had to schedule/reschedule appointments a week later than available. I started keeping a personal copy of all my visits and tests and when the reports were delayed at the hospital, i had my own history in my brain.

The presentation as mentioned above covers a lot of such issues which need some solutions. I am sure no one wants to stay in pain longer just because some report did not make it to the doc.


  1. Happy to see your speedier recovery. As you might already aware of, your benign positional vertigo thing will eventually go away as those stones dissolve in inner ear! So jalsa again:-)

    And thanks for this presentation link. Agree! health care industry in US imminently needs few vital reforms..one being complete electronic medical records(EMR) for fastest and convenient access (currently only 14-17 % physicians have EMR functionality) and second is providing comprehensive care to all regardless of their insurance status. Later is more alarmaing situation if not corrected in coming years.

    Wish you both and family HNY and lots of happiness.

  2. thanks for the wishes samir. I did go to the physical therapist for the vertigo treatment, which made the vertigo 10 times worse!. but hopefully it will still go away on its own.

    Happy new year to you too! have a great year ahead!

  3. i would love to have a health url for everyone. one can grant access to doctors as and when needed. i could give access to anyone anywhere in the world to get their opinion. thats how medical system shud be. ah .. utopia.

    on more realistic note - this requires a huge amount of money, time and organization. not to mention innovation like open and common data exchange format - xml or such. but as the article suggests, it is possible hands down.

  4. I agree with Vivek; it's an almost insurmountable problem, but can be done, and realistically should. It's certainly not going to happen in the near future nor in the current environment where healthcare as an industry makes far too much profit off of its inefficiency.

    That said, one thing individuals can do to mitigate this in the mean time is get a really proficient PCP. Given what experience I have, I've found having a Doctor of Internal Medicine as a PCP is far superior to having a General Practicioner or some other HMO-assigned default. The difference in my view is having your own hand picked lawyer or one assigned to you by the courts (Thankfully, I've never had to put that analogy to the test.)

    The key is finding an Internalist that you trust in a facility/clinic/hospital you trust too. It takes a lot of asking around, and you can't hesitate to switch if you have a bad experience. Effort, yes. But anyone who's gone through health issues like this or others will attest to it.

    Oh, and I always insist that any specialist I'm referred to send all results to my PCP. In many cases, I hand carry the xrays, mris, etc. directly to my doc's office.

    It's a stopgap, but something we can do in the meantime.


  5. Hey Richa,
    Here's wishing you a speedy recovery. Jolly good to see you tackling the situation with the right spirit! Thumbs up to you.

    Nikhils (your's and vivek's senior from VRCE)