We know a wonderful old lady named Dottie who is 101 years young. Just like the happy old people in the Netflix series mentioned above, Dottie enjoyed a long life full of love, music, and lots of purpose. But as her life is coming to an end, her doctors, caretakers, and hospice are not cooperating to exchange her medical records to ease the transition from life-saving care to relief-focused care (i.e., palliative care). This is a common challenge for American patients and their families who face an uphill battle getting records to go where they need to go. Today happens to be the first day that HHS will begin enforcing a rule that will penalize actors (up to $1 million big dollars per violation) that purposefully block health information from leaving an electronic health record system. It is helpful to have a stick to enforce common sense, but the Netflix series makes it clear that our health care system issues are much more about culture than rules. One necessary culture change: our medical system must make it the norm, the habit, to exchange health information for the good of the patient — not because some federal rule said so. Case in point, one of Dottie’s doctors refused to continue a medication, saying it is a habit-forming controlled substance. Right. Pretty sure the habit-forming opportunities are over for Dottie. Let’s hope that all doctors can form the habit of exchanging health records so Americans can look forward to old age. We leave you with Betty White’s Tips for Leading a Long and Happy Life.
September 1, 2023 | 3 min read
September 1, 2023
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