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Hacking Healthcare by David Uhlman, Fred Trotter

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Chapter 6. Patient-Facing Software

Applications and web tools to engage patients and healthy people are potentially the most exciting facet of health IT. This type of software, when designed and used well, can be a source of tremendous patient empowerment. And the patient experience needs a radical transformation, because—in case you have never dealt with an extensive illness—being a patient can be demoralizing, frustrating, and humiliating. The unsettling burden of serious illness is often augmented by the task of coordinating care between various institutions, a task forced on many patients and caregivers.

The more complex a patient’s condition, and the more experts that a patient has consulted, the more difficult the coordination of care becomes. Any person who frequents hospitals has seen the poor souls for whom this has become a Herculean task. They are easy to spot. They usually carry a travel briefcase, complete with rollers. The briefcase contains copies of all the patient records they have accumulated as they meander through the healthcare system. The healthcare system in the United States is easily one of the best in the world, until you need more than one doctor. A single doctor in the United States has met one of the highest standards for medical education in the world, but the system as a whole has been operating in a disconnected fashion for decades. Patients have been forced to coordinate their own care, and when a medical record is paper-based, this can be a daunting ...

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