Confirm patients’ medical memories to develop complete health histories

#5in5_Blog_BannerCan you remember what you wore to work last Thursday? How about what you had for lunch yesterday?

We humans aren’t particularly great at recalling details. Study after study shows it.

Colonoscopy patients don’t remember details of their procedures when more than a year has passed, according to a report in Healio.

How about hip and knee arthroplasty patients? Can they remember their pre-operative pain and function? A study published in the British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery says nope.

According to research shared by, causes of childhood epilepsy slipped patients’ — and their parents’ — minds when the patients grew up.

An article in the New Yorker with the headline: You have no idea what happened, explains that, while we fail to remember details of emotional events, we tend to think we do. And, we’re confident in our incorrect recollections.

Consider the implications for doctors, nurses and other health care workers trying to create patient health histories.

“For so many years, physicians have relied heavily on patients and their medical records to inform their decisions about care,” said Simeon Schwartz, MD, president and CEO of WESTMED Group, Purchase, N.Y., a multi-specialty clinic.

“Only now that we’ve begun to unlock the power of our patients’ claims data do we understand the extent to which patient records don’t reveal the entire picture.”

Now that there are analytics platforms that can combine claims data with clinical, laboratory, pharmaceutical and even socioeconomic data, the picture could become even clearer.

The latest #5in5 interview from Optum Provider, addresses the challenges and benefits of combining patients’ versions of events with data and analytics.

Cathryn Kelly, a manager of population health with Lehigh Valley Health Network, answers five questions in five minutes in the episode: Using analytics to meet patients’ needs. 

You’ll hear her insights on identifying the best time to intervene with a patient, encouraging patients to take charge of their health and using available tools for driving patient engagement.


About the Author:

Leslie CozattLeslie Cozatt currently serves as Director of Marketing, Optum Provider – Thought Leadership and Content Strategy. She directs the development of content that spotlights the role of data analytics in healthcare – specifically the transition to value-based care, risk management and population health management. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience developing B2B and B2C integrated marketing campaigns for companies including ThreeWire, Eliance and 3M. Leslie attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from Wellington College with a BS in International Business & Communication

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