Sharing Medical Records Cartoon

It’s Friday! Time for a little healthcare IT humor courtesy of The New Yorker:

Sometimes reality has to make you laugh even if it’s a sad situation. Or as Health IT Policy wonk Steven Posnack said:

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • May I suggest the doctor in the cartoon use the time honored process of sitting down and talking with the patient to find out about the medical history.

    Oh never mind!!! I forgot we modern physicians don’t do old fashioned non-techie things like talking with the patient. There is no CMS incentive money in dialog with patients.

  • SGC,
    You’re right. A patients memory of their medical history is much more accurate and complete than getting what your fellow doctor documenting at a previous visit. Plus, patients love when a doctor sits down and asks them to repeat something they’ve repeated multiple times to doctors, nurses, front desk, etc.

    I’m all for face to face interaction between doctors and patients, but I hope the time honored tradition of wasting that time talking about information that could be had otherwise is done away with so a new time honored tradition of providing care in those face to face interactions is started.

  • Face to face dialog with the patient CAN and WILL be increased if medical records from the previous physician were shared. Perhaps the doctor will have more time to discuss the patient’s hobbies. Or ask them about their children or grandchildren. Or spend more time asking them in depth about the stress they are having at work instead of the same information that as John pointed out, has already been asked 6 times previous. In addition, there is nothing at all wrong with getting the patient to enter this information through a secure Patient Portal at THEIR leisure and in the comfort of their kitchen table at home. Instead of waiting till the last minute after they have arrived at the doctors office and they only a few minutes to fill out this information on PAPER! That now has to be re-entered by a highly paid clinician. Who will most assuredly make mistakes in entering the information.
    And yes, the fight should not be with the EMR vendor, the fight should be with CMS imposing fines and penalties to doctors that choose not to use an EMR.
    And one final point to SGC. Perhaps it would be better if you and your staff should do away with your phone system and communicate with your patients using telegraph. Or, perhaps do away with your Practice Management System and go back to submitting all your claims on paper to the insurers. That way it will only take 2-3 months to get paid for a claim instead of 2-3 weeks.
    Please forgive my sarcasm, but i can point out a number of ways that an EMR creates tremendous time and cost savings to physicians if implemented correctly.

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