Putting Our Health Information In The Cloud

I’ve spent most of my entire career, 15 years, in the medical software industry and most of this time has been spent developing software for pharmacies. Compared to many of the other high tech industries out there, healthcare is far behind in implementing the latest technology. There are still pharmacies today that run by paper. It’s not that there isn’t software out there that will do the job. It’s that technology adoption in healthcare takes a long, long, long time. Also, many systems are closed systems so that the information is stored in proprietary databases and it is not easy to gain access to the information.

Not so long ago, this was the same case in the banking industry. No one wanted to expose their customer accounts to the internet. If you wanted information about your account, you had to visit the bank or make a phone call. We didn’t trust the internet to keep our data secure up there in the cloud. But that has now changed. Every major bank has an online presence where customers have full access to their accounts. The healthcare field also needs to take this step by providing a way for patients to have full access to their entire medical chart.

Have you ever tried to call your doctor or hospital and get a copy of your medical records? The times that I have done this it’s like making a trip to the DMV or dentist. Just this past week, I finally received my lab results back from tests I had done weeks ago. None of this information was available to me online and I needed to wait for the mailman to deliver my results. Here we are now in 2010. Why isn’t this information easily and readily available? If we had our entire medical history available to us in one place, couldn’t our doctors make more informed decisions about our health? Well, both Google and Microsoft have been trying to slay this dragon. If you didn’t know, Google has Google Health and Microsoft has HealthVault. I think the adoption rate has been very slow. Try them out and see for yourself. Both sites can store allergies and conditions, medications and tests. Google Health has the more simpler Google look and feel but I find it lacking in some clinical information. When I enter my labs, there is no link to clinical information about the labs, no normal ranges (although it appears if a lab company imports my results into my Google Health record, the normal ranges can be captured). HealthVault looks more modern and also a history of any changes made to the medical records. Both of these are trying to be a central repository for your medical information so that you have full access to your data, whereas your doctor might only have a piece of your medical profile. 

So check out some of these health information sites and let’s push for moving some of this information into the cloud. And as I had stated a few weeks ago, here are my results for test taken on 12/15/2009:

Lab Result Normal Range
Ferritin 29 22 – 322 ng/ml
Lipid Profile    
Cholesterol 170 < 200 mg/dl
Triglyceride 69 < 150 mg/dl
HDL 50 > 40 mg/dl
LDL (Calculated) 106 < 130 mg/dl
Cholesterol : HDL Ratio 3.4 < 5.0
LDL : HDL Ratio 2.12 1.00 – 3.50
VLDL (Calculated) 14 5 – 40 mg/dl
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) 2.76 .034 – 4.82 uiu/dl
CBC w Auto Diff    
WBC Count 5.5 4.0 – 11.0 k/ul
RBC Count 5.04 4.4 – 6.0 m/ul
Hemoglobin 15.4 13.5 – 18.0 g/dl
Hematocrit 44.5 40.0 – 52.0 %
MCV 88 80.0 – 100.0 fl
MCH 30.6 27.0 – 33.0 pg
MCHC 34.6 31.0 – 36.0 g/dl
RDW 12.4 < 16.4 %
Platelet Count 229 150 – 400 k/ul
Neutrophil 51 49.0 – 74.0 %
Lymphocytes 37 26.0 – 46.0 %
Monocyte 9 2.0 – 12.0 %
Eosinophil 2 0.0 – 5.0 %
Basophil 1 0.0 – 2.0 %
Abs. Neutrophil 2.8 2.0 – 8.0 k/ul
Abs. Lymphocyte 2.0 1.0 – 5.1 k/ul
Abs. Monocyte 0.5 0.0 – 0.8 k/ul
Abs. Eosinophil 0.1 0.0 – 0.5 k/ul
Abs. Basophil 0.0 0.0 – 0.2 k/ul

3 thoughts on “Putting Our Health Information In The Cloud

  1. Pingback: Measure My Fitness » Putting Our Health In The Cloud

  2. Looking at the results that are posted; they are all within normal range and don’t seem to indicate any further work-up. But lab results are only one indicator of your health at a given time and should probably be based on some historical data (past results). Also, has your lifestyle changed, such as: diet, exercise, new job, relationships, etc that could change your physiology.
    So, if you need further explanation you could try ASCLS.ORG and find the part of the page that allows you to ask questions and a member of the organization will help you.

    Good Luck and Good Health

  3. Bobby – Thanks for the info. My recent results are close to what my results were last year. As far as lifestyle changes, nothing major but like many these days the workload continues to increase while the number of workers decrease. For historical purposes, I could post my previous lab results. A few years ago, some of my lab results were slightly out of the normal ranges but I think the results were impacted from some large running volume on the weekend and the blood drawn on Monday morning. I do need to keep an eye on the prehypertension. Thanks again for the feedback.

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