In the last month, I’ve suddenly become very familiar with a podiatrist. Two of my sons and my wife needed to be seen for three different health concerns within three weeks, which included outpatient surgery for my wife. All of these visits provided a very intimate picture of our health care system for me, and I was reminded of why HealthInsight is doing the work we are doing. Although, I’ll admit that oftentimes I feel removed from our endeavors by being so focused on the technology and related processes supporting our work, the past few weeks have been a reminder of how closely I’m tied to this work.
Here are a few of my experiences:
- I can’t count the number of times I ended up at our preferred pharmacy trying to pick up or fill prescriptions. While I appreciated that our podiatrist could simply click a button and send the prescription electronically to our pharmacy, twice I had to call the doctor back to have them resend due to some kind of technological issue. Working within information technology (IT) gives you slightly more sympathy when technical errors occur, but it still meant a number of unnecessary trips and phone calls that, in my opinion, weren’t necessary.
- I did note during our first visits the podiatrist was a bit stand-off-ish and almost came across rude, but he eventually warmed up to us as the number of visits and related reasons for visits increased. While we have come to some common ground between us, I think our initial interactions could’ve used some help or at least an approach that was more friendly and open. With the heightened attention and focus on the opioid epidemic occurring in the U.S., I appreciated that he was highly attentive to my wife’s and my concerns regarding the prescription pain killers for post-surgery recovery he was recommending. He worked with both of us on prescribing a drug we were more comfortable with.
- I appreciated the thorough nature of the outpatient surgical processes for validating who my wife was, which foot they were operating on, etc. However, I noted several areas for improvement, most of them related to the number of times we had to reiterate information (like allergies or prescription history) that was already included in her chart and admission paper work. These items, from my perspective, should’ve been made available to all of the involved parties in order to help reduce the number of times we had to answer the same question over and over.
HealthInsight, as one of the nation’s Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organizations, works hard with all of our partners on helping them improve their processes and take advantage of technology where they can. After my recent encounters with the health care system, I’m pleased and encouraged to be a part of our work, even if most of what I do happens in the background. HealthInsight plays a vital role in improving health care as we move our mission and vision forward for the benefit of everyone who relies on our health care system to improve and be better.