An intern I was working with mentioned that he had a friend doing an elective in Africa, and that there, without the medical infrastructure, there’s no such thing as a doctor or hospital that keeps track of a patient’s medical record.
The patient must keep track his or her own medical record; otherwise, the patient is assumed to be a new patient, with no medical history whatsoever.
Not saying we should switch to this system, but I think it’s just an interesting thought experiment to how it might change the healthcare system–patients would likely be forced to know more about their own medical conditions, which I think would be A Good Thing; currently it’s not uncommon to have a patient come in with 20 different medications, and they have no idea which pill is for what, or don’t even know what their diagnoses even mean.
Thought: Weird that many people get all active and knowledgeable and support groupy when they have a diagnosis of Cancer, but not when they have a diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, or something else more/equally deadly. (Or maybe that’s just a false notion, but it sure seems like it.)