By John Goodman
April 22, 2013 – When 21-year-old Mike Kelly (not his real name) set out on his bicycle one evening in Durango, Colorado, he had no intention of ending up in a hospital. A collision with an automobile changed those plans. Fortunately, Durango is a ski mecca where broken bones are almost a way of life. With all that practice, doctors there have evolved their practice into a sort of natural center of excellence for treating bone injuries.
In Mike’s case, however, another set of doctors came into play. Mike and his family are clients of PinnacleCare, a “health advisory” firm in Baltimore, Maryland. Within 30 minutes of Mike’s arrival at the emergency room, the staff of PinnacleCare was on the phone with the ER doctors in Durango — discussing treatment options and transferring Mike’s medical records.
Communication is a big problem for everyone in medical emergencies. The doctors want to know what drugs the patient has been taking; if there have been any recent surgeries; etc. The patient may be in no condition to tell them. The ER might have important information and the family naturally wants the ER doctor to tell them what is happening. But a federal law (HIPAA) prevents such communication unless the patient signs a waiver and even then ER doctors aren’t fond of talking to families when a patient needs attention. PinnacleCare solves this problem. They already have the waiver. They have the electronic medical records (EMRs). They can provide the kind of doctor-to-doctor communication that is most needed. And then they can talk to the family while the ER doctors do their work.