Accuracy and Control

December 12, 2007 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

I saw an interesting post over at Bioethics International about the implications of sharing medical records on line.  As Microsoft, Google, and others enter the world of personal health records (PHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), the questions of privacy, control, accuracy and impact to healthcare are all raised once again.  

The conversation revolves around two points.   First, if knowledge is power, then being able to provide comprehensive and accurate information about a patient’s medical record at any time to any point of service should improve the caregiver’s ability to provide quality care.   We’re all personally aware of cases of contradictory medications prescribed in complex cases because one medical specialist isn’t aware of what another medical specialist’s directions.   

The second issue is privacy.  Will the data that consumers self-enter be subject to the same rigorous standards as the data that healthcare providers manage?   Right now, HIPAA type confidentiality isn’t mandated, and the consumer must research and rely on the PHR provider’s statement.  

Accuracy and control.   It would seem that we could trust ourselves to manage both, especially when it benefits our health and well being.  

But as a population, we’re well known for our ability to delude ourselves.   Despite the daily evidence in the mirror and our own best interest, we underestimate our caloric intake  and overestimate our fitness.

Imagine how self-deluded we would become if we believed inaccurate data benefited us? 

There are corollaries in the business world.  Employees of companies in trouble ignore the warning signs and keep plugging away, counting on brighter days ahead.   While that may be fine for the worker as long as the paychecks continue to clear, the healthcare materials manager cannot afford to miss these signs.   Continuity of care and patient safety are at risk.  

Our take:  The best protection is third party verification and monitoring of the many data points of enterprise health.   When a third party is available to triangulate the self-reported data in a vendor registration program with external data, the materials manager can have more confidence in accurate reporting of the data.   Someone with no vested interest in the outcome can accurately assess any risks.   

Entry filed under: Know Your Vendor, vendor management.

Produce Compliance New Year, Old Issues

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