Convert your FHIR JSON -> XML and back here. The CDA Book is sometimes listed for Kindle here and it is also SHIPPING from Amazon! See here for Errata.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Is your Doctor good at their Job?

It started with a simple tweet, as some of my better posts topics do:

If you read through the whole thread, you'll understand the title of this post.

Here's the point.  Until patients judge healthcare providers by the non-medical things they do, most providers will just continue to give us the same kinds of service they always have.  Paper forms, crazy bills that we can't understand, lousy communications, et cetera.

We put up with those things because the providers are "good at their job."  But are they really?  Isn't customer service part of their job?  We all complain in one breath about how the system needs to change, but how many of us have ever changed doctors because we couldn't get our data easily?  There are providers that have the capability and use it, and there are many others that don't, and there are some, like my own, who are working on it, but still aren't there yet.

How do we make physicians understand that making our data available to us is a critical part of their job?  The easy answer is to pick physicians and hospitals that do.  But that is not so easy now is it.  Do you really want to give up the doctor that you have a 20-year relationship with?  I know I don't.  Do you even have those choices?  I do to some degree because of where I live, but not everyone else does.

One of the intentions behind Blue Button+ is to change that.  But making technology available is only the first step.  And while @CLOUDHealth and I might argue about the shape that technology takes, I don't think he'll argue that it takes more than the availability of appropriate technology to change society.  It has to be used.

In the The Forever Hero Series, L.E. Modessitt's main character Gerswin discovers that it isn't just the development of appropriate technology that is necessary, it has to be used by, and demanded by the common man before change can occur.  The BestMeat plant that his institute funds the development of fails to change society until Gerswin starts sharing the fruits of that plant with others.  This is where S&I Framework stands today.  We have developed some of the appropriate technology, but we need to get the word out, and create the demand for it.

That is one of the key messages from the Patient Access Summit II.  As I summarized it: More needs to be done to raise awareness among patients, providers and health IT vendors about patient rights and technology available to access data, and Blue Button Plus alignment with Meaningful Use incentive programs.

But of course, if we expect ONC to make that change happen, we'll still be waiting for it.  The government is not well known for their marketing prowess.  I'm a patient and a technologist, not a marketer. I don't know how to do this, or what it would cost to get the word out.  But I know that's the next step.  I think we need to spin up a simple yet viral marketing campaign to make patients aware that a) they have a right to their data, and b) they should ask for it.

I can teach that to an eight-year-old, why is it so hard with adults?