Most providers of care share patients within a disease watershed. This is a geographical area where people have a high probability of contact, share similar environs and where a critical mass of people spend the bulk of their lives.
Within any of these watersheds there usually are a variety of individuals who provide some type of medical care (physicians, specialists, podiatrists, chriopractics, alternative care, cosmeticians and a host of other people who in some way or another meet the populations’ health care needs). No one person provides all of the care for any one person. Many of these people share information, often at the bequest of the person seeking care. This sharing of information is time consuming, expensive and often trails the need at the time.
It is my contention that within these disease watersheds any person who’s licensed to provide any form of care should share a clinical repository in order to maximize their ability to provide the care they need.
Electronic medical record systems will eventually evolve into larger regional systems that will correlate with the local disease watershed. When they do the population living within those areas will see their diseases managed optimally. Then, and perhaps only then, will we begin to be able to tackle the health care needs that exist and improve the population’s health.