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Home page of YourRecord.Challenge.GovThink everything in your medical record is spotless and flawless? Think again: almost everyone I know who’s checked their record has found flaws, omissions, orders that were never carried out. There’s a lot we can do, e-patients, engaged consumers, to improve the quality of our records. And the time to do that is now, before there’s a crisis.

Here are examples I know of, personally:

  • One of my x-rays identified me as a 53 year old woman.
  • Long ago when my wife first gave birth, they tried to give her penicillin, to which she’s severely allergic. The allergy was omitted from her record.
  • Tragically, when SPM member Regina Holliday finally got her dying husband’s record (after a doctor called her “Little Miss Type A”), she found items nobody had acted on – a walker that had been ordered and never delivered, a severely distended bladder. Because of her attention, both were acted on promptly.
  • As widely reported in December, here and elsewhere, famous blogger Xeni’s radiology images got mixed up: “What’s that … ghost-shadow thing—it looks like I have a penis!” Yes, someone else’s data got onto her CD.
  • That news led an SPM member to note that her husband’s doc had called once, asking why he seemed to have a uterus.

Look, the reality is that the best medical professionals usually do not live with the most bullet-proof information workflows, and that’s not their fault; bad data can get in, good data can get left out. But we can help fix it, by being a second set of eyes.

And it’s time to get busy, people, and tell the world out there about this – and them digging into their medical records!

Make a quickie YouTube about your own medical record story. You’ll be a social media star, and you might even win money. $7,500 of real American dollars!

I’ll explain below.

But first, how cool is it that this (the image above) is a government website?? Where are the seals, the flags, the pictures of DC?  And the title of the contest is, well, it’s a play on the Capital One credit card commercials: “What’s in YOUR wallet?”

That’s kinda the point: to this administration, the Department of Health and Human Services is about what happens out here, in the field. And yeah, they’re crowdsourcing the reasons to get involved in your record. Asking us, and paying us (the best, anyway) for our time.

Note: we here aren’t the point – the people reading this blog. We already know we should dig into our records. (You do, right?) (Right?) This initiative is to reach the people who don’t read these blogs – “The people in my supermarket,” as I like to say.

See the white band in the banner?  Four weeks left, and only 96 followers! You could win!

Here’s how:

  1. Learn about the process
    1. First, create a login here for the challenge site. (There are lots of other challenges.) If you don’t do this first, you’ll get greeted with a hostile “HALT! Who goes there??” governmenty pop-up. (Oy. Nice front door, non-governmental, but the spooks are still right inside. :-))
    2. Once you’ve created the login, responding to the usual confirmation email, it’ll dump you on a generic page. (Doh.) So come back here and click the image above, and you’ll get into the site.
    3. First thing you’ll want to do is review the rules, but I swiped ’em (they’re public property, right??) and pasted them in below. (Don’t tell the government, k?) So don’t tell anyone, but you can read the specs before you register.
  2. Think about what you’ll say.
  3. Say it. Make the video.
  4. Upload it to YouTube or
  5. Fill out the form (handily pirated below).

Cheesy cheat hint: did you know you can combine #3 & #4, make & upload? You can create a YouTube online, in one step, with your webcam, instead of doing the shoot-and-upload thing. That’s how I did this one, or this one on Vimeo. Click, talk, boom, done – no upload! (Hint, though: don’t hold the computer on your lap, or it’ll bounce around, like those ones do.)

You can get all fancy with post-production, but you don’t have to – and I won’t. I hope to have mine done by the end of this week.

Feel free to discuss ideas or ask questions in comments here, okay?

Have fun and change the world.

So much of this Meaningful Use stuff the past two years has been so… meaningful, so ponderous. Let’s get real-world now, and have FUN with it. Make a short vid that your mom and friends will find entertaining: tell what you’ve found in your records, and fixed, which made everything go better later one. K?

Here are the rules from the challenge site.

These are my paraphrases; the real rules are on the challenge site.

Make sure:

  • Your video addresses questions such as: (Note: it says “questions such as.” They’re looking for real-world examples of how engaging with your record improved outcomes – there’s no one pat formula.) Such as:
    1. What prompted you to ask for an electronic copy of your health record? [What were you wondering about? Or did you just want to be a good e-patient and know what’s in your record?] [It’s perfectly okay to say “I just wanted to be a responsible partner on my care team.”]
    2. What did you find when you reviewed your health record? [Were you surprised at all the stuff in there? Anything missing? Everything OK?]
    3. How did you, or your health care provider, improve your quality of care after gaining access to your health record? In other words, what was the benefit of being able to view what was in your record? [If the record was perfect, you might note that you were better informed and your confidence went up. If it wasn’t perfect, how will things be better now?]
    4. What did you, or your provider, learn from accessing your health record? Was any information missing or incorrect? [Um, I guess that’s in the “such as” above. You get the idea.]
  • Your video gives a specific example (personal story, experience, testimonial, or thoughtful idea) of the benefits of having access to view your health record and the ability to review what is in your health record. [I think that’s what they just said.]
  • Your video encourages viewers to visit and to ask their health care provider to see and get a copy of their medical record. This can be spoken or in a text overlay. “Health IT” is pronounced Health-EYE-TEE. [Snicker – you can really tell this wasn’t done just for the readers of this blog.]
  • Your video is no longer than 2 minutes. In fact, shorter is better, as long as you get the point across!

Confirm that you have read and agreed to the Official Rules. Submit your video by including

  • a link to the video on or
  • a text description of how you or a loved one benefitted from having access to your health record
  • Upload consent forms for everyone who appears in your video, regardless of age.


See full details on the site. This post is just a summary.

You’ll also need permission forms for any recognizable face… I plan to only use my own face. :-)

Submitting it:

To be filled in, on their online form:

  • A name for it. Be catchy – like, “They were gonna remove my WHAT??” or “I spotted a missing allergy and saved my own life.”
  • Short summary of the video, to appear on the entry page
  • Link to the YouTube or
Max file size for uploading is 5MB; if yours is bigger, see instructions on the site.
Note: you can do parts of this before you’re finished, and “Save as Draft.” Sweet.
Okay, that’s it. C’mon, let’s tell the world! Get engaged.


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