"As electronic health records become more prevalent, do you think these issues will improve for patients?"
Yes. As long as the health records make it to each doctor and each doctor is in the loop. If the records aren't being read by everyone, then there is no point. We have doctors who don't scan their records into the system and no one ever gets the information they need. And what about when you see doctors from multiple health systems?
L has been on the negative end of specialists who take her apart piece by piece and only look at their own part. We spent two years seeing countless doctors who looked at pieces and told us she was fine. We finally found someone (a specialist!) who looked at the whole picture and was able to put everything together. But what if all the doctors had communicated with each other? Perhaps more help and less "blowing off" and not wasting valuable time where we could have been helping her.
Having a PCP (or a doctor in charge while inpatient) is like having a team manager. The PCP keeps track of all the specialists and their "pieces" and how they all work together. The PCP may not understand everything because of their more general training, but they can be the communicator to make sure that everyone knows what is going on. The patient (or parent) should not have to have the stress of being in charge of all the communication and management. But the PCP also has to establish trust so that it is known that he or she is making the best decisions in the interest of the patient.
We are lucky because our PCP does not just send us off to different specialists, she does as much as she can to help us stay home and on a "normal" routine because she makes it her job to keep up to date with everything going on with L and to do as much research as she can, and to know what the specialists' goals are, so that she can help us accomplish them in the easiest way possible.
The thing is, when you have a ton of doctors all doing different things for the same person, they HAVE to be in communication with each other. I wish it was easier!
As for the analogy, it was good. :)