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IT Does Matter

April 21, 2008
by aguerra
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I got a call today from my sister regarding some medical tests my mother has just taken. A scan of some sort revealed that she has a mass on each of her kidneys – both approximately the same size. At this point, we don’t know if it’s cist that requires no attention or something far more serious.

Next up – a CT scan scheduled for Thursday. My first thought -- why so long? Why three days to get this checked out. When I spoke to my mother today (she’s in good spirits, tough and German as they come), I asked her when she thought her doctor would have some information about the CT scan. She suspected it would be another week after that.

Such delays are crazy and typical of the system we live in today. While the scan is digital and the results probably available in seconds, it'll apparently take days for a radiologist to get/read the image. Then more time for that radiologist to communicate the results to my mother's urologist. So we’ll wait.

Unfortunately, if something is going on in her body, it will continue to wreak havoc. No matter what the industry does on the acute side, there’s still a big, fat gap in the IT continuum of care when it comes to physician-to-physician communication, and they are the ones with the least financial incentive (and interest) of all in tech-ing up.

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Comments

I agree that service levels are important, including provider-to-provider communication.

Just a few years ago, a family member had a test and we walked out of the hospital (an outpatient radiology test done in the hospital), with a printed report by the radiologist. They read it as positive for a horrifically bad abnormality. We took the study to two nationally acclaimed medical centers with experts on that abnormality. Both said the films were misread and my family member's test did not show the abnormality.

So much for rapid response time.

aguerra

Anthony Guerra is Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Informatics. His blog contains story lineups for...