Commentary: Personal medical research report: Informing patients

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We all have hopes and expectations that the promise of technology is bigger than quick riches and dazzling gadgets. One technological innovation that is helping people is the tool used to develop and deliver personal medical research reports (PMRR), providing life-changing information to people around the world.

The PMRR is an information service product for patients facing complex medical problems. The service is provided either directly to patients, or as part of a coverage plan for businesses, communities, organizations, and third-party payer systems. Using the Internet to quickly access current medical knowledge and resources from around the world, the PMRR brings medical knowledge into the hands of a person who desperately needs to know what the experts know – in language they can use and understand.

The outcome is a patient (and family) that understands their diagnosis, how it interacts with their individual total health picture, and the approaches leading experts are recommending for treatment. It enables patients to replace the paralyzing fear of the unknown with the realistic active energy that comes from knowledge and clear strategies.

The PMRR service is performed by medical research analysts holding advanced degrees in nursing, and represents a revolutionary approach to effectively serve the needs of individuals facing life-threatening illnesses. By bringing the latest medical findings to patients facing complex, and often life-threatening illnesses, PMRR provides patients and families with comprehensive, credible information, empowering them to make the most important decisions of their lives.

The first PMRR ever delivered is still an ideal example of how the effective use of technology makes a difference. An eight-year-old girl in Italy was diagnosed with a soft tissue skin cancer and given two to four weeks to live. Within twelve hours after contacting a local, Colorado Springs company that uses PMRR technology, she was given detailed information on her diagnosis and the best practice treatments being performed by leading specialists in the United States. Her personal medical research report was translated into Italian and connections were made at three comprehensive cancer centers.

The young patient went back to Italy with no evidence of a visible tumor two weeks after surgery. She began chemotherapy two weeks later in a collaborative practice arrangement between St. Jude’s and the National Children’s Hospital of Italy. At last report she is doing well, and has returned to school.

The PMRR is a unique service product designed to:

– Empower patients facing complex medical diagnoses, allowing them to actively direct their own health care team with knowledge, and confidence.

– Eliminate iatrogenic (medically caused) errors through bringing the knowledge and skill level found at leading medical centers into the hands of local physicians, one patient at a time.

– Increase the prevention of errors by preparing patients and their families to understand the medications and treatments they will use; creating a shield of self-protection from the 38 percent error rate in medicine (To Err is Human, Institute of Medicine report, 2000).

– Enable patients, doctors and others in medicine to make the best use of their limited interaction time. This is accomplished by use of a new health care tool called “My Journey to Wellness.”

This series of decisions, specific to the patient’s individual health and life situation, is presented in a sequential manner, allowing the patient to face the myriad of questions that confront them one at a time. In addition, a list of 20 or more questions is personally prepared for each patient to ask the treating physician. By pre-sending this list to the doctor before the visit the physician can be prepared to engage in a focused, meaningful dialogue with the patient.

For a young girl in Italy, a teenager in Biloxi, Mississippi, an elderly woman in California and others who have received a complex medical diagnosis, the ability to use technology to quickly develop and deliver comprehensive, personalized information – across time zones, borders and cultures, changed their lives forever.

American Medical Connections, Inc. is located at 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918. You can contact them by calling, 719/209-4716 or via fax at 719/262-3707.