Doc in Web 0.1

Living, working, sometimes too immersed in web technology, I am taken back by interactions where situations seem o cry for a more technological approach. My doctor’s office stuck out twice today. On a visit to a PA to deal with some ongoing leg pain (keeping me from running, grumble), she remarked as she was scribbling down notes in my 2 inch thick paper folder, “Writing up these notes is what consumes nearly all of my time!”

The second was getting some info from a nurse on which physical therapy places I could go to on my insurance plan– after some unsuccessful rummaging through a list tacked to a board, she said, “You can find out much easier if you look it up on the web. We cannot do that here since all of our computers are [eye roll] DOS and cannot use the web.”

Fortunately the medical treatment here, and lack of waiting days/weeks to get an appointment make it worth the paper hassle,

I know there are medical offices that have really embraced digital technology. A friend has started a new practice and heavily invested in electronic records systems. I recall hearing how Mayo hospital uses portable, wireless technology for medical professionals to efficiently access records, x-rays, etc. I’ve been to blood testing labs where they at least run your insurance card through a scanner.

But at most doctors I go to, there are rooms full of paper files, people xeroxing files. There are tasks like scheduling appointments, getting test results, requesting records, that cry out for a web app, but for the most part put patients and medical staff through those horrendous phone trees, leaving voice mail messages. Hurried doctors need to flip through reams of hand written notes to refresh themselves on patient histories.

My Doc is in DOS. Sigh. Kind of a new country blues song.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. OTOH, parts of the medical profession have gone too far the other way. On Christmas Day our nurse triage line called in a prescription for some eye drops for my daughter (pink eye on Christmas, woohoo!). The automated system accepted the order and filled it, in the computer, even though the store it was filled at was closed for Christmas. When we finally tracked down a pharmacy that was open, our insurance company denied the prescription because it had already been filled…

  2. Ouch, thanks for the dose of reality.

    My insurance company has a lot of its information and services online, and I’ve been in a 6 month plus battle since they list one of two pieces of my insulin pump supplies as “not covered” despite the policy clear statement that such supplies are covered. Then there was the 3 month period when the online pharmacy lookup was “temporarily unavailable” and each complaint request was responded with “it will take 2-3 weeks to fix”.

    Hope your daughter is okay, pink eye is no fun at all

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