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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My dog has a better medical record than you do: Electronic medical record

My dog Jackson had a well-dog checkup recently with his veterinarian.

A month earlier, we had received a postcard reminding us that he needed certain vaccinations and was due for a yearly checkup. (Does your doctor’s office remind you?) When I phoned the office to make an appointment, they asked me my last name, and looked up his record on the computer so they could verify for me which shots he would need, and what the purpose of the visit would be. (Would your doctor’s office do that?) Knowing he’d need a fecal test, they suggested I bring in a (poop) sample, and gave the necessary instructions. They entered the information into their computer scheduling program.

At the visit, much of the equipment was not much better than that of a doctor’s office: a stethoscope to listen to his heart, a thermometer to measure his body temperature, a digital scale built into the floor, a pair of highly trained hands and eyes for the physical exam.

At the end of the visit, the vet handed me an individualized, four-page, neatly formatted and typed summary of what he had found, for each bodily system, with his advice on diet, exercise, and hygiene, a thumbnail photo of Jackson, lab test results and their interpretation, and target dates and types of future vaccinations. (Does your doctor routinely do that?) At check-out, I also received a receipt and itemized bill, which clearly named on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet each shot and service Jackson had received, and showed the name of the receptionist, phone number, and future vaccine and exam dates, to keep for our records. (Does your doctor do that?)

They even advised on the preferred flavor of the toothpaste for daily brushing: poultry. The care was Mmm-Mmmmmm good!

Advice for people searching for a doctor: Find a doctor who uses an Electronic Medical Record to educate patients and themselves about the care you need.

Read another story about an electronic medical record.

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