Electronic Health Records – A Roadmap To Health & Wellness

I am only one in a long line of voices in the medical information community that are disappointed in the developmental direction of our Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Personal Health Records. The current state-of-the-art Health Records are very narrowly focused, end-state static repositories of patient statistics; another way of phrasing this is that they are stand-alone soulless databases that do little to educate or guide a patient to a place of well-being. In response to this state of affairs, my focused interest, for the last few years, has been to develop an accessible and highly visual method of integrating these Electronic Health Records into an ecosystem of wellness plans and programs that contextualize the patient’s data and experiences. By doing so, I believe that we can equip patients with an individualized road map that inspires them to comply and modify their behavior and lifestyle. The Electronic Medical Record of the future must contextualize each data set for each patient so that the patient/physician dialogue and decision making process can be focused and based on understanding individualized causes, consequences and, most importantly, solutions.

Contextualizing your Data: Metadata is getting a lot of attention in every sector of life these days, unfortunately, when it comes to understanding their medical data, patients are having a tough time understanding even the “little data” in their health records. Without a clear basis for understanding even the most basic data in their medical records, patients can grow frustrated as new data is entered, sometimes resulting in patients giving up on understanding their data altogether. As mentioned above, I’m a firm believer that all personal data must be contextualized. An example of this contextualization is that when a lab report comes in, each lab should be required to include  content, or a narrative, that explains this data in a compelling and understandable way, particularly for data that is flagging a potential problem. We have coined the phrase: “it is story that gives soul to data” as a way of conveying this thesis. By the same token, it is story that contextualizes that data and allows a person to truly understand their condition.

PHR and EHR taking Dynamic Data from Wellness Programs: Once a patient has been drawn in and has a clear understanding of their medical data through the contextualization of this data, the future PHR and EHR can become part of a Wellness Ecosystem. We are proposing that all electronic medical records be integrated into a wellness application and a personalized plan that becomes a patient’s personal roadmap. This fully integrated plan should provide exercise, diet, sleep, and stress tools to manage and measure the success of their health journey. It should offer well defined methods to plan and execute each day’s dietary intake and expenditure as well as exercise expenditure based on height, weight, age, gender and Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR). The program can potentially work as an independent wellness program, but it would be most valuable when it plugs directly into the PHR and EHR Ecosystem. The vital statistics that can easily be measured and collected directly by the patient, can then become part of the longitudinal records of the PHR and EHR. To further optimize the program, the program can be facilitated by a Vitality Guide who can be a Physician, Nutritionists/Dietician, Physical Trainer; someone who has expertise to plan and guide a patient, ensuring that proper monitoring and advice is dispensed as you make this personal journey to optimize your health and vitality.

Summary: Electronic Medical Records are truly in their infancy. In order for them to mature and offer a true service to a patient, they must become a driver in the management of a patient’s daily routine, they must manage and guide them toward optimized health and well-being.

Alexander Tsiaras delivers a suite of tools and content fully integrated and available to the layperson, patient and professionals, to guide them or their patient in optimizing their well-being.  Preview these tools at TheVisualMD.

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