The promise of the information age is that the ability to capture and communicate more information will allow us to make better decisions, but judging from Dalrymple’s experience sorting through medical records, it may sometimes replace common sense:
What was quite clear from these notes was that the form-filling had become, for those who did it, the essential work to be done, completely unconnected from the diagnosis or treatment of the patient about whom the forms were supposedly filled in…
The mountain of miscellaneous, irrelevant, trivial or actively misleading information and pseudo-information did not prevent, perhaps even caused, the most obvious feature of the case to be persistently overlooked, and for the appropriate simple test not to be performed.
To read the rest, purchase the Summer 2013 edition of the Salisbury Review.
When a friend of mine requested a copy of his medical notes from his GP a couple of years ago he was horrified to see that a GP he had seen for a sports injury when a student some 35 years previously had noted that he was ‘an habitual intravenous drug user’. This was completely untrue (though like many of his generation he had experimented with cannabis and LSD). One wonders what impact this sentence might have had on how he was treated by subsequent doctors, as a patient and as a person, in the intervening years.
I once got an academic job in the department from which I graduated. I took my academic record card and corrected it, initialling and dating my corrections. There were four, if I remember correctly.