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What Airport Security Can Teach Us About Healthcare


So there we were, waiting in the airport security line, and the reason… a computer glitch. And not just some computer glitch, it was a full on cyber-assault, or so they would announce later. This meant that suddenly all of those really cool apps and 2-D barcoding- that had been announced and championed on the news, and in every commercial between here and the end of the TSA frottage gauntlet- were now useless.

I suddenly felt very Dr. Seussian Maybe like something from the “Grinch that Booked Christmas?”

No readers were reading, no scanners could scan

It was like all those records had been dumped in a can…

Or something like that.

Regardless, there came a most wonderful sound.

A curious phrase, luddite and profound….

“Does anyone have a printed boarding pass?”

I almost couldn’t believe it. Print? Paper? I vaguely recalled such a concept, though I am pretty sure, the last time I had heard it uttered, it was met with derision and scorn. What I did remember with absolute clarity was another word, “Redundancy.”

Back up… plan B… What to Do when stuff hits the fan.

Given my enforced moment of reflection in the security line, it occurred to me that airline travel and the security increments of passage had a lot of similarities to issues related to my medical records.

Yes, this is the sort of thing I think about.

Your sympathy is quite appreciated. In any case, there is a lesson in that experience. You can’t always rely on the system.

So what can you do?

Well, if you’ve read my book then go to the chapter on medical information and records. If you haven’t read my book…. well… I guess I just helped you arrive at one gift request for the holidays, huh?

Think of it like this. Your medical records are your healthcare system boarding pass. Sure you can have a little card or sequence code or symbol, but if there is an IT issue or some kind of cyber “incident”, well, you may be out of luck.

“So what?” you ask.

Well, you can expect everything to take longer, you can also expect that potentially important information may be deleted from the decision-making process, diagnosis, and prescription or treatment plan. “That”, to quote my very colorful grandmother, “ain’t good.”

So what can/should you do? Well first, you need to realize that your medical record is yours. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. They may need them and use them and they for sure have a responsibility to protect them but your records belong to you. So you should not hesitate to obtain a copy and yes, they do need to provide them. Now I like to think I am also modern enough, I suppose, that I like multi-media and multi technology solutions, so you should consider loading the copy of your record onto a disc, thumb drive, or into the cloud if that works best for you. This doesn’t mean you can’t also do paper, just make sure you don’t become arbor day’s public enemy number one.

Now, they may want to charge a fee for printing them off. Okay…reasonable enough, but as I just said, you can sometimes avoid a fee that by getting a USB thumb drive that is used ONLY for your medical files and having them load your file to it. With each visit, simply load the record onto the drive as an update. Just make sure you have a big enough memory for the drive. Also make sure you update each time you see your healthcare provider so that the information is current and accurate.

Have it where you can access the information and make sure that in case you can’t communicate in a time of need some sort of marker for EMS or home health or someone who might come to your aid can find it. There is signage in the book that can help with that and I have included the sign on this website as well. Just go here.

http://www.preparetodefendyourself.com/#!medical-information-signage/teawe

or go to the page under "news" marked "Medical Information Signage"

So there you go. How holiday travel relates to healthcare. Oh, and if you are the person that sat next to me on my last flight with your shoes off, here’s my holiday gift to you, a free diagnosis and clinical disposition all wrapped in one word… Tinactin!


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© 2014 Matthew Minson, MD, TAMU Proudly created with Wix.com