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Even I'm a Loser

August 25, 2009
by daphne
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You think I’d know better. I mean, I’m a senior editor here who writes about electronic medical records all day long. But when I needed to find a new doc, I got dinged just like any newbie.

I moved a year ago and though I liked my GYN, her office was too far from my new place. I wanted a new one close to our Healthcare Informatics offices here on Fifth Avenue in New York City. I thought I had found it: six blocks away from our offices, hard by Union Square, is a giant, bustling ambulatory pavilion connected with one of our local academic medical centers.

That’s what I wanted — a place where I could get it all: labs, X rays, mamos, sonos, the whole nine yards, all in one place without schlepping all over town. With a shared (I thought) medical record. So I did my due diligence, checked out the docs, found out who was board certified, where and when they got diplomas, and even looked up the opinion blogs. I found a doc who fit all my criteria. Then I made my appointment.

And was dismayed when the registrar, followed by the doctor, did everything on paper, then handed me a whole sheaf of referral papers for mammograms, and others for dermatology (I had a funny-looking mole). And told me to get copies of all my old mammos. When I asked her about an EMR, she said, “Oh yeah, that. We’re supposed to get something called eClinicalWorks, we’ve been talking about it forever. I have a meeting this week.” She looked, by the way, much less than enthused. She told me to call the other doctors and make appointments for everything.

Well, here it is, a month later. I couldn’t bring myself to deal with the draconian phone system. All I wanted was, when I left, for all those appointments to have been made, my mammos requested, and my record accessible to the other docs. Which it SO was not. I would have had to do the entire paperwork all over again in each office.

I gave up, and never got the primary preventive care I needed. I still haven’t.

Me and a few million others in this country.

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