Patients shouldn’t rely on electronic medical records

USA TODAY’s article “Medical records a click away” does not address several problems with personal medical information available on the Web. In addition to concerns about privacy, data mining, conflicts of interest and commercialization of private information, I would like to remind readers of issues missing from the discussion (Cover story, Life, June 12).

Patients shouldn’t rely on electronic medical records and shouldn’t be forced to be dependent on them. What if the systems are down, or there’s a power outage? Nothing can replace the patient being his or her own medical historian. As a practicing physician, I always emphasize how important it is for patients to carry a current list of medications with them. Patients should keep and update a summary of major medical events, such as new diagnoses, treatments and hospitalizations. These simple steps take only a few minutes a year.

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