Medical Records and Container Refills

I have two new things to do when I visit the doctor. First, about a couple of months ago, they started requiring that all their patients wear identification wrist bands. Then, on my last visit, I had to list all my current medications on a sheet of paper, and I was told I’d have to bring this with me every time I visited the doctor (or else I’d have to fill out a new one), even though my medical records already contained all of this information! Ironically, I made a mistake about the amount of one medication when I wrote it down, so my medical records were more accurate anyway.

I have multiple doctors (here and back at home in California). Sometimes they are in communication with each other, sometimes not. Especially frustrating is that I can’t talk with many of them via email – instead I must instead fax even the simplest of messages. None of my medical information is stored digitally anywhere, as far as I know.

Companies like Google and iHealthRecord  are trying to change this, however:

Google offers online medical records service

iHealthRecord

Cleveland Clinic

 It’s a step in the right direction, but doctors’ offices and hospitals really need more comprehensive digital systems to deal with the amount of information flowing through their doors. If, for instance, a patient had all of his or her medical information stored online, and additionally synced that data to some kind of wearable device, the need for ID bands would disappear. Furthermore, nurses and doctors could use mobile phone web apps in their offices  (such as those for iPhone) to quickly pull up data on any patient, so the need for cumbersome physical records would be gone.

Medic Alert is an interesting solution for identifying people and also for identifying their allergies or conditions in case they are unable to do it themselves (in emergency situations, like unconsciousness):

MedicAlert

Aside from the medical industry, there’s a huge opportunity for change in the way we recycle containers. Rather than throwing used containers (which are almost always in perfectly good condition) right into the recycling, wouldn’t it be better to simply go back to the store and get them refilled? Obviously, this methodology is not feasible for everything that comes in a bottle, but there are many products that consumers and manufacturers would both benefit from refilling:

Refill station for detergent bottles

Inkjet refilling

-Marc

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