Dr. Oz, Electronic Medical Records, the Fifteen Minute Physical and The State of Healthcare in America

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

dr oz electronic medical records optDr. Oz, Electronic Medical Records, the 15 minute “Physical” and what it might all mean

Did you see the press coverage for the Dr. Oz show and his “15 Minute Physical” for the citizens of Philadelphia recently?  The headline for the article in Forbes Online Magazine reads

The 15 Minute Physical: Dr. Oz Showcases Power Of Electronic Medical Records

A 15 Minute Physical by a TV Doctor for 1000 people?
The Power of Electronic Medical Records?
There is so much in the headline that doesn’t make any sense at all. Here is how the reporter described what REALLY happened with Dr. Oz and what turns out to be an army of medical students – underlines are mine.

“Dr. Mehmet Oz and 75 laptop-wielding medical students entered clinical information on 1,000 patients into electronic medical records. … They recorded in individual digital files, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as blood pressure, body mass index, waist size and neck circumference. It took 15 minutes, with clinicians giving participants a summary of their medical report.

[The Medical Students] collected the data in real time for the one-hour show, allowing Dr. Oz to hand over a “Health Data Report Card” for Philadelphia to the city’s mayor Michael Nutter. “Electronic medical records save time when done right, so doctors can spend more time with their patients,” says Dr. Oz, a cardiac surgeon who still operates on patients once a week at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.”

And I am just not sure what Dr. Oz thinks was actually showcased here ??

=> That all of us need a medical student to work our EMR ? Hey … scut work will always be scut work.

=>That a physical is just recording a couple of numbers on a tablet numbers ? Have we fallen so low?

=>Just how unnecessary doctors are (including Dr. Oz) if this is what our society now considers to be a “Physical”?  As best I can tell there is no MD needed at all for this level of service.

=> If I divide 1000 patients by 75 medical students, I get 13 patients each … that isn’t even a morning’s work for most practicing docs. Sounds like quite a feat to the lay person until you do the math and tell them how many people you actually spent time with in your last full office day.

==> I especially love the “Electronic medical records allow doctors to spend more time with the patient” quote. Just want to point out – NO DOCTOR SPENT ANY TIME WITH ANY OF THESE PEOPLE.

Then they delivered the payoff punch.

As woefully inadequate as these Dr. Oz “physicals” were … they were all it took to diagnose the following in this group:

“Of the 1,000 participants, 43% were obese, and equally alarming, 43% had high blood pressure. Also, 40% had pre-diabetes, but Dr. Oz couldn’t guarantee that participants fasted for the blood tests.

During the show, some minor drama unfolded when two women had to be admitted to Temple University Health System, when tests showed that one had an abnormal blood count (and no health insurance), and the other had severe hypertension.”

My Question … What do YOU think this Dr. Oz event “Showcased” if anything?

Apart from the electronic medical records program – whose name I removed less we give them even more publicity for this “event” – I can’t see how this helped anyone except the uninsured people who took advantage of the Dr.Oz event to get some healthcare screening they could afford.

However, I don’t think Dr. Oz and his army of laptop wielding medical students are the answer to the challenge of the uninsured in America.

Please LEAVE A COMMENT with your thoughts on this Dr. Oz Media Event.

What meaning do you take away from this article and event … if any?

Tags: Physician Burnout, compassion fatigue