Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Financial Accounts and Medical Records

In his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast,  Dr. Benjamin Carson suggested that we give each American a Health Savings Account and an Electronic Medical Record.

My take on this subject is that one's medical records and their savings account are part of the same thing.

Here is my reasoning:

Health Care is the application of time and resources to the care of health.

The actions people take in concerning health occur in a chronological order and involve the use of time and resources.

If we start with an accounting system and add to it a detailed document management, then we would end up with a complete view of each person's financial and physical health.

It is true that doctors record biometrics that go beyond basic accounting. But, this idea that we shouldn't sully medical records by storing them in the same filing cabinet with financial information is absurd. It is on par with the idea that doctors should only speak Latin to avoid sullying the profession with the common tongue.

The system of keeping health records with financial records already exists in the insurance industry.

The flow of information in health care follows the flow of the money. In both insurance and socialism (insurance is socialism at a corporate level) the information flows from large pools to large providers. Health information flows back along this chain.

In many cases, the insurance company will have better information about a patient than the doctors.

The fact that information follows the flow of money is not surprising. Money, after all, is simply information. I have a desk littered with scraps of paper. I can change the scrap of paper called a dollar bill for a candy bar because of the information it represents.

Money is simply a tool that humans use to help quantify time and resources.

So, medical records are created by doctors recording biometrics. There is a cost associated with this activity; so there is pretty much always a financial record that corresponds with a medical record.

If our goal is to create a top notch electronics medical record, we would do well to start by giving each American an account through which we run all health expenses.

We can very easily attach to this a document management system with which we can add extra information.

The sweet thing about starting with the financial record is that it will provide funds for the maintenance of the records.

Dr. Carson is on the right track. I would amend the argument by pointing out that the basic structure of the financial record and medical record are so similar that we would do better to start with a unified record. The easiest way to do this is to start with the savings account and add a document management system.

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