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The Evolution Of Medical Records Essay

1317 words - 6 pages

Medical records have been around for many years. Even as far back as the sixteenth century. Today they are known as electronic health records and are a vital part of taking care of patients as well as using the information for demographic and research purposes. In the past records were not kept very well, if at all. This paper will trace the evolution of medical records to what we use today. This paper will explore how records were kept in the sixteenth century all the way to how they are kept today. The importance of these records will also be explored as well as the methods that were developed.
In the sixteenth century medical records were kept mainly as observations of what the physician learned about a patient or the human body and not so much as a record of the patient’s health and wellbeing. Two men, Simon Foreman and his protégé Richard Napier, where astrologers in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. Forman started the record keeping and after his death Napier took over. They treated patients based on what was going on in the stars as opposed to what was going on in their body. Of course, this was by no means helpful to the patients. Also, by all accounts neither Napier nor Foreman had a very good reputation. Although, somehow they still had people, a lot people who consulted them when they were sick. Why that is, is never explained. However, they did do something that no one else had done before, they recorded the symptoms of their patients. Both of these men were prolific recorders. Between them they saw as many as 50,000 people. These records or casebooks as they are known had, “At least 90% of the questions related to matters of health and disease. The remainder included questions about marriage, career prospects, persons, stolen property, travel plans, legal suits and witchcraft” (Kessell, Lauren. (2011), Wilkins. Alasdair (2011)). Why they needed some of this information is anyone’s guess. But some of it could have been used as demographic information, although it is doubtful. These men gave a great contribution to the science of medical record keeping. The next person to make a contribution was Andreas Vesalius.
Andreas Vesalius lived from 1516 to 1564 contributed De Humani Corporis Fabrica. He was a professor of the University of Padua. This collection of works talks about the human body. Not only does it talk about the human body but there are beautiful illustrations of the human body based on his observations. Unfortunately the person that made the beautiful illustrations is not known. These illustrations were based on his observations has he was dissecting a human body and were shown in various states of dissection. His being able to dissect a body, also known as an autopsy, made him able to make very accurate depictions of the physiology and pathology of the human body. He also gave the various parts of the human body names in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. In addition to the illustrations there were observations that he made during...

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