In a previous post, I wondered about the utility of turning electronic health records into blogs, owned and maintained by the patient with health care providers providing additional contributions. It wasn’t a completely thought out idea, but I was just brainstorming a bit.
iHealthbeat.org reported on how High Point Regional Health System in North Carolina is using patient blogs on its corporate website. In this particular case, the patient blogs seem to be used as more of a public relations tool (i.e., marketing and branding). Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the patients don’t mind sharing their experiences. In fact, having the experiences available on-line might be a good means of sharing information with other “potential” patients. Another use might be as an informal quality improvement tool. I would hope that the postings aren’t altered or moderated because then I would question the true value of this type of tool.
But, my original idea wasn’t about marketing. I was getting more at the idea of using a blog-approach to documenting the patient encounter. From what I know of medicine, patients spend very little face-to-face time with the provider (usually measured in seconds or minutes). Often, it’s very difficult to remember all of the symptoms and circumstances that a health care provider needs to accurately diagnose and treat a patient. What if we allow patients to contribute to their own medical record using a blog format? Patients could write how they are feeling more frequently and report whether they are improving, complying with the treatment, and what have you. Actually, questions from assessment tools could be embedded on the side somewhere for more continuous monitoring.
Anyway, enough for now. I just thought that it was interesting to read about patient blogs on hospital websites so close to my post.