Monday, April 11, 2016

1628 The Doctor is In

We expect our doctors to be know it alls.  And then we resent them when they are.

“Waddaya mean cut down on red meat and the wine that goes with it so well?”

“Lose 20 pounds? Waddaya talking about?”

“I lose my appointment when I’m 20 minutes late, but you can be late by an hour and I have to sit here and take it?”

All of which brings us to one of the unsung anti-heroes of today’s health care crisis:  the people who run the offices.

Gone are the days when you’d go see Dr. Knowitall in his home office when you were sick. Or maybe every few years for your “annual” physical.

Once there, you knew time stood still.  That’s because kindly old doc would spend enough time with her patients to make sure she had all bases covered and that you as a patient were clear on what was wrong and what to do next.

The home-based doctor isn’t completely extinct, but close.  We all go to Big Medical Offices where rows of people who do little to nothing but sit and shuffle papers in advance of putting them into a computer which is running on Windows XP, the one Microsoft no longer “supports,” which means no more security checks.

In the unusual event that they notice you standing at the “Stand here to guard privacy” sign and “check you in”  You still have that forever wait.

Progress!

“Dr. Knowitall was called away to an emergency (on the golf course.) Are you willing to be seen by a nurse practitioner?”

Sure.  They aren’t knowitalls.  Just healers.  

“Okay, one will be free in just a few minutes. Please have a seat.”

One thing that hasn’t changed from the days of the doc at home offices:  The magazines are still dog- eared and out of date.  But if you want to catch up on Coronet or Colliers, it’s all there for you.

Where do they get these antiques anyway?

Forty minutes later, you get to see Nurse Bob.  Nurse Bob is young enough to be your kid.  But he knows almost as much as Dr. Knowitall and is willing to spend more time listening to you.

One thing Nurse Bob and Dr. Knowitall have in common: confusing and idiotic reams of electronic “paperwork.”  The more computerized it is, the more confused it becomes.  

When they used note pads and index cards, it was easy to lose a record.  But eventually, it turned up. The paper or card was somewhere in the office.

Now, when a record is lost, the file is “somewhere in the cloud,” which keeps records in fragments that it puts together when it can find them all.  A moderately successful medical practice can have more than 20-million fragmented case records.
Doctors and nurse practitioners have enormous patient loads.  They may remember your face and some of the details of your case without the aid of those electronic records.  But the devil is in the details.

And the office staff is no help if those records are missing or incomplete.

And as a paean to their hard road to that MD or DO, drop the resentment and at least pretend to accept the advice.

But still, we long for the day that the first question out of the mouth of the reception clerk no longer is “who’s your insurer?”


Shrapnel:
--The smarmy pompous fool Denny Hastert has been outed at last by prosecutors who’ve disclosed the allegations against him, kiddy sex abuse and making hush money payoffs in the multi millions.  Hastert was the holier than thou former Speaker of the House who led the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings after rising from common school teacher to land dealer and inside trader. Maybe he and Jerry Sandusky can become pen pals instead of just long distance soul brothers.

--Victoria’s Secret announces 200 job cuts in New York and Columbus.  It says that’s so it can focus more closely on “growth areas.”  No word on a possible partnership with Jenny Craig.

Today’s Quote: “Pastrami, no question.” -- Democratic Party presidential contender Bernard Sanders (I-VT) to Matt Lauer’s question about what was at the top of his lunch menu while campaigning in New York.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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