Other Voices: No More Fax Machines, Give Doctors Access to Medical Records to Save Lives During COVID-19

Too many Californians have learned first-hand that one of the most frightening things about COVID-19 is how it robs you of your ability to breathe — let alone speak.

In a medical emergency, every second counts and every bit of information matters. But what happens when we can’t communicate because we’re unconscious and gasping for breath — or don’t speak English?

As the CEO of ConsejoSano, which seeks to make health care work for everyone by removing cultural barriers, I know communication barriers can mean the difference between life and death.

Doctors, nurses and other health care providers must know if you have serious allergies, underlying conditions and other critical details from your health history to provide proper life-saving care. But this vital information is often locked away when it’s needed most, greatly increasing the risk of fatal errors.

Consider this – while Latinos make up 37 percent of the California population, they account for over half of the more than 24,000 Californians lost to COVID-19, and it’s the result of decades of disparities in housing, education and health care. With only 7,000 Latino physicians serving our state’s nearly 15 million Latinos, language is a barrier to life or death information.

Thousands of Californians are hurt every year by medical errors, and it is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

While technology is making it easier to safely share critical medical information, that doesn’t mean it always happens in a consistent, ubiquitous manner.

Read the full article by Abner Mason, MX Board Member and CEO/Founder of ConsejoSano.