Monday, September 17, 2007

Apparently I Chew Tobacco

And sometimes I'm left-handed, and sometimes I'm right-handed. And sometimes my right leg is my left leg.

These are just a few of the discoveries you might learn about yourself if you get the opportunity to read your medical records and letters that doctors have carefully and thoroughly written.

Yes, doctors are busy people and they must see dozens of patients in a day. But sometimes these can have grievous consequences.

What surprised me was that it wasn't a rare occurrence but almost all of the letters written by the dozen doctors I had seen had at least one incorrect recording of medical history, not just mixing up right and left (frequently), mixing up weeks and months, and the sequence of reported events, but also creating weird things out of the blue. I'm perplexed by my tobacco-chewing habit, and that my blood pressure can apparently be recorded for a visit when my blood pressure was not taken.

My first full-time job was full-time quality control statistical programmer. My entire job was to check another programmer's work to make sure we came up with the same and accurate results. Even the people who entered the data probably had to use double data entry. Seeing as other industries have hordes of quality assurance engineers, test engineers, proofreaders, editors, etc., and feedback, code reviews, document reviews, peer review processes, bug-tracking, bug-finding, and bug-fixing, maybe we need to add some to the medical industry.


Lady M said...

Wow, that's a lot of discrepancies. Can you get any of those corrected or is it a lost cause?

dancing dragon said...

Hm, I'm not sure it's worth the effort, but maybe I should file some bug reports just for awareness.