In our group, we speak a lot about how unleashing data and mashing it up can transform clinical development and healthcare in general. Going further, one of the most exciting opportunities to improve healthcare is the sharing of health records between health care providers and patients.
This is why it's exciting to see a new batch of medical technology startups committed to adding efficiency to the data sharing process, and in a move we hope to see more of - putting medical records in the hands of those who own them outright - patients!
One example, as profiled by ReadWriteWeb recently is Drchrono, an exciting iPad service that allows doctors to work with medical records and perform functions such as:
- Scheduling an appointment
- Input medical details
- e-prescribing drugs
- Medical Speech to Text technology
The most important feature in our view is the ability for patients to get a copy of their medical records via Drchrono. The app and its usage is growing - according to the company, 50,000 doctors and 400,000 patients are registered with the service.
There are a number of other startups attacking the electronic health record industry, as further noted by the ReadWriteWeb article.
Much of the innovation in this area of medical technology is due to the HITECH Act, which gives physicians incentives for using electronic records. However, the health consumer and patients rights communities are excited about the HITECH Act because by digitizing these records, the data can now be made available to consumers as appropriate.
After all, our medical records belong to us, and in most cases, medical records have been out of touch and inaccessible to in any meaningful way. As more data access is responsibly given to health consumers, we can begin to see services and applications that enable us to take ownership of our health care. For example, imagine an instance where after learning about a medical condition, you also learn about clinical trials you qualify for based on your medical history and location.
The idea of health consumers having access to their records has been championed by John Wilbanks, who gave an inspiring TED talk on the subject in June. Also, Wilbanks has built WeConsent, a site dedicated to the idea of medical commons, a way for people to gather their medical data and share it freely.
This is what data access is all about!