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March 18, 1992

Physicians and Patients Need an Electronic Card

Author Affiliations

First Access Inc St Louis, Mo

JAMA. 1992;267(11):1469-1470. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480110045029

To the Editor.  —As a physician and founder of a software development company, I was appalled to read in the recent issue of JAMA1 that a proposal by Louis Sullivan, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, for medical recordkeeping on a personal credit card has drawn such criticism. It has been suggested that this card "is to protect the special interests of those who are profiteering from the health care system, as opposed to... the consumers," and that it represents a "gimmick" whose principal purpose is to improve cash flow, not access.I have always assumed it to be evident that deciphering cryptic handwriting and requesting old medical records over and over again is a waste of a physician's time, as well as a health risk to the patient when errors occur in obtaining this vital information. I encourage critics of Dr Sullivan's proposal to