As some readers may know, I was a diplomat for 24 years with the Department of State before starting my Patient Navigator business. I retired from Federal service on December 31, 2008.
One thing I can safely say: your Federal Government is well-prepared to cope with an epidemic or pandemic. When in 2006-2007 it looked like Avian flu might spread dramatically, the government spent considerable resources to put in place systems, procedures and training to deal with an outbreak. Policies were coordinated globally and with U.S. States.
Too many people, especially Republicans, are fond of gratuitously criticizing the Federal government and its employees. No one ever praises the career civil service when things go right. (Good news doesn’t sell). You should feel relieved to know that if the swine flu disease spreads, the U.S. is prepared to cope with it. The foresight, planning and resources devoted to preparing for a pandemic are a true success story. Kudos to hard-working public servants across multiple U.S. agencies who made this happen.
I’ve said in previous posts that we must move to digital records. In the past weeks, I’ve heard horror stories about the inability of medical providers to communicate with each other. I personally know that to be true. I recently asked a doctor treating my daughter if he was planning to inform another specialist (separately treating my daughter) about some new circumstances in her care. He brushed off my question saying that “Talking to Dr. X is the least of my concerns.” So it is up to the patient to make sure that the various members of her medical team communicate. The danger of fragmented care is that the left hand doesn’t know/doesn’t care what the right hand is doing.
I’m attaching this link to an NPR piece describing the findings of a Kaiser Family Foundation poll about the public’s view of moving to a digital record keeping system. Views are mixed, which I think is worrisome. I am dreaming of the day when I won’t have to fill out the same form multiple times for different doctors. Electronic Health Records make too much sense for people to realize their value easily. We’re just too used to everything being complicated and inefficient when it comes to health care.