One part of health care reform we can’t really argue about

This morning I had to take Mom for blood tests in preparation for an angiogram she needs on her leg (the one that suffered cellulitis at the start of the year). The doctor is sixteen miles away in the part of the metro area where expressways don’t go, and we somehow missed every stop light on the way. It was a really slow trip.

We got within three miles of the doctor’s office before we realized we didn’t have the written orders explaining what tests were needed. The lab closed at noon; it was 11:05. We went to the office anyway, just in case they had a copy, but of course they didn’t. They did give us alternative locations, though, and the lab at the main hospital where Mom will have the procedure was open till 3. So we went home to get the orders and set out for the later lab.

On the way we realized that I had the orders at my house. So basically it really WAS my fault we didn’t have them. Kind of. I say “kind of” because it should’ve been possible for the doctor to enter the test orders in the computer so that they were in the database of the health system, and the lab could just access them and voilá. I know this sort of thing is possible because, while we were at the doctor’s office on Tuesday, he was able to go online and get results of a test done in January when she was in the hospital then. That took all of 4 minutes.

We drove from Center Line to Macomb Township to my house in Warren then to the Detroit/Harper Woods border. I don’t know how many miles that is; a million, maybe. We sure saw a fine cross-section of suburbia. (Lawn lawn lawn lawn strip mall lawn lawn lawn….)

One part of the health care reform package passed by the U.S. Congress earlier this year includes a large sum of money to help health care providers get medical records computerized and available. That alone would be such a cost and time savings and everyone would benefit. It’s not very sexy, not like a big fight over abortion funding that already couldn’t have been spent, but it’s vital. Would’ve saved Mom and me time today, that’s for sure.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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2 Responses to One part of health care reform we can’t really argue about

  1. animist says:

    My main concern about online electronic records is the same concern I have for my online financial and other records – hackers and corporate data mining.

    • songdogmi says:

      Of course, that’s not the reason to not do it — that’s the reason to do it right. But I know what you’re saying; they should have been able to do a better job keeping financial records secure, too. Somehow. As if I know how that’s done.

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