A Southern California emergency room physician launches a program to close the gap between doctors and patients — article
Posted Oct 14 2011 2:20am
Imagine traveling across the country on a business trip and you suddenly feel a chest pain. Chances are, if you can get to a hospital (and that, by the way, is the top priority with chest pain), your doctor will not know your medical history.
A board certified emergency room physician, Dr. Martin H. Orens, has launched KARE Information Services, also known as KIS. It’s an electronic health records (EHR) system that’s secure and easy to use. The idea is to give patients more power and help health care providers offer better service.
In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Orens recalls that, not too many years ago, medical records departments were closing up in hospitals (during the week-ends), trying to cut costs. “We would do these humongous work-ups on people that really didn’t need it. It was done because we didn’t have the information and we had to protect ourselves against medical liability. I realized this was crazy. This was a terrible way to practice medicine,” says Orens.
Orens started developing an electronic medical records business in 1999. Since then, KIS, a service sold directly to patients, has gone through three major developments. The member fills out all the health information. An electronic medical record is created for both the member and his/her physicians. The idea is to create one log of medical care and to prevent a scattering of health information.
According to Orens, medical records should really belong to patients. He says a patient may have had a huge work-up done just a few weeks before seeing a doctor in another city. The doctor (in the other city) may have to get records from the original doctor (which could take a couple of weeks) or start from fresh. Orens says that would be “ridiculous because everything is so expensive.”
Orens says he created KIS with the intention of making the patient the “conservator of their records.” The records are given to their doctors and the permission to see that file is created for the doctor by the member (patient). The doctor, says Orens, gets to use it for free.
KIS can help a patient with a serious disease such as lung cancer. This particular patient may have an internist, a pulmonary specialist, an oncologist and, perhaps, a cardiologist. Sometimes, notes Orens, it may be hard for these doctors to communicate with one another through their paperwork. “KIS is a single product where all of these physicians, with the click of a mouse, can move their information into one journal and build this continuously-developing journal that all other physicians can get in and look at,” says Orens, noting that this can prevent a repeat of costly procedures that were done recently.
KIS allows doctors to order lab tests and prescriptions through the KIS site. Once that’s done, says Orens, medications are immediately logged into their new medication log (by their physicians). Another benefit is lab results come back through the KIS site. The patient is able to see the lab results at the exact time the doctor sees them. This can cut down on the anxiety involved with waiting for lab results.
KIS is secure, adds Orens. He says KIS uses the same virus protection (security) programs as the Pentagon, the Air Force, the Navy and Microsoft.
The KIS program can help you if you are traveling overseas. Orens says, “No matter where you go in the world, the records, because they’re Internet-based, will follow you wherever you go. You can be out on a cruise ship and the records can be there in a manner of seconds…Our records can be translated into 34 different languages,” says Orens.
Orens says, “KIS gives empowerment to the patient…It allows them to not only get the best medical care possible, but cut the cost of their health care tremendously,” adding that eliminating one blood test would pay for two years of the service.