Google Care Studio engineer: How a health scare showed what's missing from EHRs

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Adam Connors, a software engineer at Google who works on the tech giant's Care Studio, said a health scare unveiled to him the effects of a lack of interoperability and incomplete medical records, according to an op-ed CNN published Nov. 3.

Five things to know:

  1. When Mr. Connors went to get a rash and bruising checked out, his blood test turned up concerning results. His platelet count was one; the normal range is 150 to 300. Mr. Connors said his physicians encountered issues when piecing together his medical records to diagnose him. An emergency physician had to email his primary care provider to get his medical history.

  2. Mr. Connors, who since has been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, now has to drive to a hospital to get blood work done instead of visiting his nearby primary care provider because the offices' EHRs are not compatible.

  3. The medical scare shined a light on how his work as an engineer can ease the way medical records are accessed. Mr. Connors said longitudinal health records would be a great asset; they centralize a patient's health data in a single place and make it available to share with hospitals, pharmacies and primary care providers.

  4. Longitudinal health records are adopted by some hospitals when they join health information networks and share their data at a state or national level, according to the op-ed. However, Mr. Connors said this data sometimes is incomplete or buried in external documents.

  5. One option to make longitudinal health records ubiquitous is to mandate open data standards around interoperability so data is harmonized, Mr. Connors said. This type of record system should stitch information in real time with a flexible and consistent data model. It also needs to be affordable for hospitals to maintain, according to the op-ed.

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