Column: The biggest medical mistake
Column: The biggest medical mistake

Gabrielle Speijer, MD

De Medisch Specialist, 09/2019

Column: The biggest medical mistake

As doctors, we provide only a part of the care: within the framework of a department, a specialty, a healthcare institution, a region, and a country. However, experience teaches us that a patient does not adhere to just one specialty and often moves between healthcare institutions and borders.
When I see what is technologically possible and what we are not using, I am amazed at what I call “the biggest medical mistake of today.” Nobody really feels responsible in these transitional areas. I dare to summarize it on behalf of the patient: Who still has an overview of my health situation? Haven’t you doctors coordinated this among yourselves?

We doctors, however, have only a partial picture of the patient. How can we extract that crucial information from the multitude of scanned documents that can save a life in time? Snomed can help with that, as an international medical dictionary that is also understood by computers. This common language contributes to good transfer and reuse.

Although steps are being taken forward, the embedding and actual use of Snomed still leave much to be desired. It is time to turn this around. Let’s take a cue from the pilot in which medical microbiological laboratories focus on faster insight into who, when, where, and why someone is infected in the fight against antibiotic resistance and where Snomed has been successfully applied and data has been unlocked. Kudos!

In the consultation room, the regulatory task is for us to take on. It is precisely we who must insist that the digital system supports us. If we want to achieve decision support, artificial intelligence, and a reduction in administrative burdens, let us take action now. Because the medical specialist who thinks that IT is a task for others will miss the competition.

About the author

Gabriëlle Speijer is a Radiation Oncologist at the Haga Hospital, founder of the healthcare innovation company CatalyzIT, HIMSS Future50 International HealthIT leader and member of the ICT&health editorial board.