Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Paperwork Follows the Money

One way to know that our health care system is headed in wrong direction is to follow the paperwork.

If we had a truly patient centric health care system, then health paperwork would follow the individual. Instead we find that health information sits in closely guarded vaults at the hospital, the insurance company and government agencies.

When our health information flows through bureaucracies is more likely to be used in business wars and power struggles rather than being used to help people improve their individual health.

Things got so bad that, in 1996, Congress had to pass the Health Information and Privacy Act (HIPPA) to give people access and some limited controls over their health care information.

Even with HIPPA it is extremely difficult for individuals to access their health care information. The HealthCare Whisperer has a practice where she gives health advice to patients. Her job requires access to paperwork. As a result, she spending hours fighting for patient's medical records. Of this task she wrote:

I am going to state for everyone who reads this, HIPPAA is for the patient! One aspect of the HIPAA law is for the patient to have access to their records in a timely fashion. It was not designed for the hospital or the doctor to control. It seems basic but you would be surprised how many times I have to either call a medical office or hospital for a client and ask for an explanation as to why the records have not been released.

The paperwork follows the flow of money. The very existence of HIPPA shows that this convoluted health care system that bureaucrats have created is diametrically opposed to our needs.

The Medical Savings and Loan could help solve this problem by making the money flow from the patient through the health care system. As the money for health care would flow from the patient, the paperwork would have to flow back through the patient as they pay for the service.

The MS&L would develop many of the same data structures to record medical information; However, since the money for each procedure comes from the patient, the system would necessarially be optimized for the needs of the patient.

Changing the flow of money through the system would position the patient so that they had more direct control over their medical records; thus reducing the need for HIPPA style regulations.

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

When I was a kid and my parents had only catastrophic health insurance coverage, we did have all of our family's medical records. That has sure changed during my lifetime. It's easy to see why.