Area Physicians author book to help patients get the most out of their Healthcare Experience

April 28, 2015

Family doctors Michael and Margaret Warner hope their new book Rise of the Patient Advocate – Healthcare in the Digital Age will help patients improve their healthcare. 

Available in paperback and Kindle at, Rise of the Patient Advocate is a guidebook showing readers how to get the most out of their healthcare experience. Drs. Warner support the use of online patient portals so patients can review records before and after medical encounters. They also promote the use of a Universal Pre-History, which allows patients to “co-author” the history component of their medical encounter. 

Drs. Warner have the perspectives of being both doctors and patients. With the advent of electronic health records (EHR’s) and patient portals, they see opportunities for patient empowerment and the fostering of a strong patient-provider relationship. 

“Prior to Warner Family Medicine joining Conemaugh Physician Group in late 2013, we were about to activate a patient portal for our electronic health record. This would have allowed our patients to see everything in their medical record. We recognized emerging problems: Would our patients understand what they read? How would they respond if they found errors or inaccuracies?” says Dr. Michael Warner. “This book identifies your health record as a written documentary of your healthcare life. It is your story in sickness and health. We show you how to manage the information in your medical record.” 

The book shows readers how to look at a medical record by describing the EHR format. “Medical charts are organized based on billing/coding rules set by the government. Once you know some basic rules, you will be able to better understand what you read,” says Dr. Michael Warner, who in addition to being a physician is also a certified professional coder. 

“Patients have an agenda when they seek medical care. This book shows them how to organize their thoughts. We encourage those who are interested to write down their concerns using a Universal Pre-History,” says Dr. Michael Warner. “This list matches the EHR so that the information can be entered into your medical record before the doctor walks into the room.” 

“Patients often make a list and bring it to the doctor. Because this list does not follow the EHR format however, it creates challenges for medical providers. Use of a Universal Pre-History ensures that your concerns are documented and heard,” says Dr. Margaret Warner. 

“Newfound federal rights are only now being exercised due to the digitalization of medical records,” says Dr. Michael Warner. “Federal laws from the 1990’s envisioned the active role that we can all play as patients in the healthcare system. You have the federal right to view your medical records for content and accuracy. You also have the right to makes changes. By “co-authoring” your medical record, you gain an important level of control.”

Rise of the Patient Advocate has been well received by Conemaugh Health System Redesign. Mr. Scott Becker, Chief Executive Officer of the Conemaugh Health System Redesign, a Duke LifePoint Healthcare System, wrote the foreword. Conemaugh is supporting a Patient Advocacy Initiative. This initiative will promote patient empowerment through education and research. 

The Conemaugh Office of Research Administration, approved use of a Universal Pre-History as part of a research study at Conemaugh Physician Group Industrial Park Ebensburg. Since March 23, 2015, patients seeing Dr. Michael Warner have been able to “co-author” their medical record by submitting a pre-history. Conemaugh is the first institution in the country to study the use of a pre-history. Three weeks into the study, most patients have elected to play an active role in their healthcare and submit a pre-history. The oldest patient is 86, while the youngest is 26. To date, more men have participated then females. “The detail of the medical story is enlightening and helps me better understand what is going on with each person,” says Dr. Michael Warner. 

While the immediate goal is to empower patients to better represent themselves – to be heard and understood, Dr. Michael Warner has his sights set on health quality, cost and satisfaction. “Our study is recording the experience and satisfaction of patients, providers and medical staff members as a pre-history is accommodated. Once we conclude the 8 week research project, we will be able to go back and audit for quality and cost.” Dr. Warner hopes this study will be a template for the entire country to follow. 

Drs. Warner established the Patient Advocacy Initiatives as a non-profit educational organization. The Facebook page and website offer free Pre-History forms and educational videos for patients and medical providers. 

“It is easy to point fingers and complain about healthcare in this country. We see the active role of the patient as the salvation,” says Dr. Michael Warner. “Thus far, electronic health records have threatened to disrupt the patient-provider relationship. Rather than calling for a new system, we look to take advantage of our current system. This book shows where it is all going and how to get there.”

For More Information, Please Contact:
Amy Bradley, Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (814) 534-3121