In medicine, the patient narrative is often the most important factor in helping the patient heal. Unfortunately, with the current "puzzle piece" model of taking a medical history, if a piece is missing, understanding what truly made the patient ill may prove quite difficult - resulting in medical error, unnecessary tests and overall decreased outcomes. Narrative medicine takes the patient story into account as the most important factor for understanding an acute or chronic illness. As each patient's journey through the medical system may be seen as their own novel, each step of the way should be mapped so that providers, administrators and insurers/companies may best understand what proximal/distal causes of disease most specifically brought the patient to illness at any given point in his/her life. The ability to improve this system, disrupt current medical thinking and increase the overall health of patients, inspires us to tell their stories. Diagnosis and treatment is always approached in a timeline fashion When did this start? How long has it been going on? When did patient have treatment/surgery? who did they see? when was a test done?

In hospital and clinics, there is a lot of time spent trying to establish and re-establish a timeline of health/disease

  • current paper charts are obviously unreliable
  • current EMRs are still clunky and are organized still just like paper charts
  • mounds of notes in chronological order, but still have to “flip through” to find what you want
  • you can filter, but there is not instantaneous information: info available when note is typed in or result reported by lab

MDs are constantly waiting to know where a patient has already been, who else they have seen, and where they have been

Mapping the flow of care for a patient could change the way we view and utilize medical charting, creating better efficiency, more accountability, and cleaner organization.


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