The Future of Online Healthcare

A recent gigaOM post by Alistair Croll discusses the future of online healthcare and specifically Google’s creation of its online healthcare records feature.  Croll points out that “Computerization can eliminate much of the 30 percent of medical costs that are due to inefficiency, according to Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute. At GigaOM Croll mentions that advanced diagnostics will encourage prevention and reduce costly reactive treatment.  I fully agree with Croll’s observations.  In October 2008, I demonstrated KwikMed’s on line mechanism for the delivery of care (Peter Ax at Health 2.0) at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco.  I believe that patients should have their entire medical history in an online repository available for access anytime, from anywhere with real time updates made by an integrated system of health care providers.  As reported by the National Priorities Partnership, 18% of the time, physicians order medical tests which have been previously recently performed. If my personal physician could access my medical records online prior to my visit with him, he could see what tests I have taken in the past even if those tests have been ordered by a different provider.  For example the x-ray of my knee taken at my local hospital in 2006 could be seamlessly accessed by the emergency room technician in Park City, Utah when I crash and hurt my knee on the ski slopes in 2008.  More significantly, the allergic reaction I had to a medication in 2000 could assist my new primary care doctor in his decision to prescribe a medication for me.  The first step to online records and seamless use of those records will be establishing technology standards. We must also have a dialogue about who has access to those records and how does the consumer monitor and limit access.