Reader Jay, in a comment on my post about health-care costs tanking the economy, raises an interesting question about the sorts of standardized medical records that would be needed to evaluate efficacy (and therefore economic efficiency) of various treatments:
The idea is clearly to have standardized health-care records systems so that data can easily be aggregated and analyzed
[he writes, quoting my post.]
That’s a shift in priorities, away from records centered around benefit to the patient, a subtle but not insignicant difference. Broad based statistical research involves, though necessity categorization, standardization and a significant degree of pigeon-holing. As a patient I would want my records organized around me and not convenience of government databanks.
Patient records are ideally almost the opposite of this. Now I guess both sorts of records can be run in parallel, but that seems like more wasted effort for doctors.
I see his point, and this is outside my bailiwick, but I would think records could serve both purposes. A good patient record for hospital and provider uses would clearly show what? — diagnosis or diagnoses under treatment; related diagnoses; key relevant variables in patient health and demographics like age, etc; prior conditions; and treatments and outcomes, as well as ancillary stuff like what they ate and so on. It seems to me those same things are just what you want to measure when you evaluate whether a particular drug or device or treatment protocol works.
Or am I missing something? Is there a doctor in the house? Records wonk?