DOWNEY - As a patient, do you have a right to access your medical records? Yes, federal law says you do.Also, it has been mandated that personal health records (with a couple of exceptions or so), now in the hands of doctors, hospitals and other health care facilities, are to be made available to patients (and their authorized representatives) online by 2014. The trouble is, according to existing practice, the medical information kept by one medical provider is not shared by another, or at least not readily. In other words, there is no extant system of records exchange among medical service providers. This can and often does lead to time-consuming preliminary information gathering and/or medical history buildup on-site, needless repetition of tests or visits, sometimes differing diagnoses, just to list a few instances of duplications as well as wasteful procedures that usually result in invasive patient anxiety attacks. This has at the same time contributed to an ever widening communication gap between patient and physician. To bridge this gap, and meet this lack of a readily accessible, comprehensive medical records file on a patient and thus empower patients to obtain and provide their own valuable medical information at all times, anywhere in the world, Dr. Martin H. Orens has come up with what seems to be a neat solution. For 25 years a board-certified emergency room physician at Downey Regional Medical Center, Dr. Orens has launched Kare Information Services Electronic Health Records, or KIS-EHR for short, an online service that offers to: 1) Provide a quick review of the patient's entire medical and surgical history, lab test reports, immunizations, specialist's reports and prescription records, and so on ; 2) Allow physicians to collaborate and contribute to a patient's single comprehensive medical file; 3) Ensure security of the files via use of encrypted files, firewalls, password strength requirements and back-up systems; 4) Give access to the user only with the patient's permission, but at the same time capable of emergency access under extreme conditions; 5) Become easy for the patient to set up and securely maintain records, anytime and anywhere ("Records follow you on the internet wherever you go"); and 6) Allow patients or parents/guardians to share information with multiple healthcare providers. The service includes translations into 57 languages, including, to name a few, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, Hebrew, Portuguese and Russian. Dr. Orens says that from his experience with patients, he fully understands the need for such a patient-driven EHR, which can only help physicians do their job effectively and deliver patients much-needed peace of mind, even in the event of a natural disaster. "Having an online medical file is also a proactive step in disaster preparedness," he said in a press release recently. "Medical offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are just as subject to fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes as any other structure. When the staff has been evacuated, the hard copies of medical records connected to hundreds of patients are, in most cases, left to the destructive forces of nature." Thus, for patients, he says, "Having an EHR they can rely on is critical in life or death situations. This new technology gives patients an excellent opportunity to protect their medical records and ensure their own emergency preparedness," Dr. Orens, who resides in Lakewood with wife Karen (they have two sons) says he started building the business in 1999 and came up with its trademark in 2000. His investment in it has been total. "Just to build the KIS-Electronic Health Records website took a year and a half," he says. "The process was actually rebuilt three times because of advances in technology. The internet security system company that built the systems for the Pentagon and other major government departments, as well as those of industry giants CISCO and Microsoft, built our security system. It's protected by seven search engines." He says he's happy he has realized his vision that started forming in his mind some 11 years ago - he is the first to offer this kind of service - and more than ready to meet the challenges beyond 2014. Reports of his company and its service have appeared in several news media already. The cost is $90 the first year, and $75 every year thereafter - or about $6 per month. "The response [to the service] has been fantastic," says Dr. Orens, who studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Jalisco, Mexico the first three years of medical school, then transferred to and graduated from Brooklyn Hospital's Downstate Medical School in New York. His undergraduate degree is in biology, obtained from UCLA in 1978. He served his residency at Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital and has been a licensed emergency medicine specialist since 1984. Other affiliations include: diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, as well as memberships in several professional groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is a fully licensed physician in the state of California. Without going into details, he intimated that a huge potential market exists for his service, even a global one. "We are prepared to wage an advertising/promotional campaign to promote the service. Print, TV, direct mail, we'll do what it takes to get our service known." "But whatever happens in the future, I will remain a physician," he said.
********** Published: September 15, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 22