Saving Lives With Electronic Health Records


It’s no secret that I love health IT, because with better access to information you can help your family members. You see my husband had kidney cancer and the end of his life would have been better if we would have had timely access to the electronic medical record. So I love health IT. And I love what’s going on right now, because it’s about access, information, and sharing.

When my husband was in the hospital, and I was researching to try and get his record – I was asking everybody. I was asking the nurses, and the techs, and the other doctors. Because the person in charge of my husband’s care was out of town.  And we had very little access to information. I spent weeks trying to get more information and actually see the records. Finally I went down to  medical records and was told it would be 73 cents per page and a 21 day wait to see my husband’s medical records in the hospital he’d been continuously housed in. I couldn’t believe it.

The very next day the doctors said that they were sending him back to the other hospital. “You’ve got to go get the medical record.” And I said I’d tried, they won’t give me the medical record. He said, “They will now. You’re going to be acting as a currier.” And I went back and they printed the whole record out in an hour and a half. And I gave it to the new doctors and they looked at it for about an hour, then they gave it back to me and said;

“Here, This is safest with you. If you always have access to your husband’s medical records he’s always going to get the best care.” 

I then read that record in about three hours and I was astounded. ‘Cause it was filled with actual data, that if we could have only seen it while my husband was being cared for it would have impacted his care and created a better living condition for us all.

My husband was housed in five facilities in eleven weeks. We went through multiple transfers. We went through 46 ambulance transports. I looked at EMRs from multiple companies. And I found out how important it is to have coordinated care in this country. My husband finally went to hospice. And when we went to hospice they wanted me to leave the room while they took his history. I said, “No. I’m going to stand over there in the corner, because you’re going to need me.”  And I had my binder right in front of me of Fred’s medical records. And then they started asking him questions.

And he was so sick. And it hurt him so bad. And he turned to me and he said, “Reggie show them the record. It says the answers to the questions.” And I could! Because I had it with us! I had access to the data! And if there is one thing that we can change by telling this story, it’s that access to your electronic medical record can change your life. Can save your life, but also at the end of your life can make you happier and whole! And I am honored to have the opportunity to do that.

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