Sunday, 9 November 2008

Into The Jaws Of The Dragon

I have made mention in this blog before about patient-access to medical records, and how strongly I feel about it.  Gone are the days when the patient wasn't told that they had cancer because the doctor didn't think that they should know or that they would be able to cope with the information.  In those days, which were not so long ago, the doctor made all the decisions about managing your illness and you were expected to go along with their choices.

Today, we are encouraged to take an active part in maintaining our health and this includes making decisions about where we are treated as well as making sure that we maintain a healthy lifestyle. With so much information available on the Internet, it is important that we have reliable sources of information for it is well known that much of what appears on the Internet has not been verified in any way.  Some items which appear to be very credible may in fact be bad science, or be misrepresenting information that appears in journals and other specialist publications.  This can be dangerous and it is partly because of this that I think it is important for patients to have access to their own records and through them to reliable information about any conditions that may suffer from or about tests that they may have to undergo.

Last week I received an email from B, my recently retired GP, asking if I would be willing to give a demonstration of the records-access application that my local surgery uses.  This demonstration would be part of a presentation that B would be giving to a group of GPs at an academic institution in London.  B knows that I have problems with being with large groups of people that I don't know, and in his email said he would understand if I preferred not to do the demonstration.  Funnily enough, I didn't hesitate for one moment to say yes to his request, so next Wednesday evening I will be demonstrating how I have access to my medical records, and what I can learn from this, to a  lot of doctors.  At the end of the presentation and demonstration there will be a question and answer session.

I hope that the doctors don't bite.

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