The California Medical Association, representing 35,000 California physicians, has officially endorsed EMCard, a simple card that gives physicians immediate access to an individual’s medical record anywhere in the world.
“In this era of increasingly complex medical care, we believe EMCard is an excellent system for giving physicians access to a patient’s comprehensive medical history in an emergency situation or when the patient is away from home,” Jack McCleary, M.D., president of the CMA, said in a letter to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.
“The availability of this information will help physicians provide more rapid treatment and improve patient outcomes,” said McCleary, who is a practicing physician in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
EMCard is the only card of its kind, providing medical information on demand via fax, including the patient’s medication history, drug allergies or chronic medical problems. The card also can be used to provide access to key medical documents such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), laboratory reports or do-not-resuscitate orders.
The patient’s privacy is protected through a personal access code, which the patient can use to withhold any specific sections of his or her medical record.
The card, resembling a credit card, is particularly valuable in emergency situations, when the instant availability of a patient’s medical history can make the difference between life and death. By having a medical history in hand, doctors can make more informed decisions on patient care and speed-up the treatment process.
“We also believe that EMCard will help potentially reduce health care costs by limiting the need for unnecessary tests and hospital admissions,” McCleary said in his letter.
For instance, a large-scale published study by Harvard University researchers found that patients who came to hospital emergency rooms complaining of chest pain were 14 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital if they had a prior EKG available. EMCard can make that EKG promptly available to physicians, thus saving some patients the enormous cost and discomfort of an unnecessary hospital stay.
The card also can be used in non-emergencies when there is a need for an individuals medical history. For instance, it could be valuable for travelers, for patients with chronic illnesses visiting a hospital or physician for the first time, or patients whose records are simply inaccessible for a variety of reasons.
The card is available through EMCard Corp., a company founded in October 1995 by a group of Stanford University entrepreneurs. To obtain an EMCard, call 800/840-4998. For more information, visit EMCard’s home page at http://www.emcard.com