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Survey: During lifetime, average person sees nearly 20 doctors

Submitted by on April 27, 2010 – 10:00 am7 Comments

In a study commissioned by Practice Fusion (an electronic health care record (EHR) company), custom research firm GfK Roper found that patients see 18.7 different doctors on average throughout their lives. While the number isn’t that shocking (count back through specialists, second opinions, moving to a new part of the country, etc.) it does underscore the need for a more robust system of tracking and sharing patient medical records among physicians and medical institutions. Some more findings:

  • Women saw more doctors on average then men (20.6 to 16.7)
  • Patients with a lower income reported seeing more doctors (22.4) than patients with incomes over 75,000 a year (18.1)
  • The Institute of Medicine says the average patient visit generates 13 pieces of paper and the average medical chart weighs 1.5 lbs

It is no question that patient medical records would save lives, most importantly, but also money and time, if they were instituted among medical organizations, with the tightest security implemented and HIPAA regulations strictly enforced.

But there needs to be an additional layer of transparency that medical professionals embrace, both at point of care and afterward. How many times have you seen a doctor scribbling notes in your chart and thought, what is he writing? Have you ever asked to have a copy of the record? What if suddenly you had full access online of your medical chart, and could read everything your doctor is noting about your health?

This current professional control is at the heart of our medical issues. Only through shifting to patient education and control – with of course the guidance of a doctor – will we learn to be equal partners in our health journeys, making joint decisions with our medical professionals.

(photo courtesy southerntabitha).

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