Friday, August 20, 2010

The Medical World and e-prescribing

Since I spend my career trying to create the best medical record software in the world, I am generally a huge proponent of e-prescribing and software in general. I also tend to believe that medical professionals are for the most part excellent people who try to help the world be a better place.

We have had some medical issues lately that have called for more medical care than normal. I am happy to report that for the most part, the people have been amazing and awe inspiring. However, we have also seen the frustrating side. Sometimes it is very difficult to get someone on the phone - even just to make an appointment! For one doctor, we have been waiting to get in since June and the appointment is September 30th.

While our family doctor and the specialists have all been fantasitc and have bent over backwards trying to make sure we hvae the proper care, I have to say that the power of the internet is in full force. I have gotten SO much help from message boards and reading online, and I have even picked our doctors that way for several of the visits. It is nice to know the experiences other patients have had, and it helps to find the experts in rare conditions. We have had other people contact us by email just offering to lend an ear. Wow, when you are really struggling, I can't tell you how much you need to have that faith in humanity restored.

I have also been reminded of how much people are afraid of illness. So many people have just kind of disappeared. I think people really struggle with how to act when something is wrong, and it is a depressing thing. I will tell you that the best thing that you can do when someone is going through something is to ask and to just be there. Don't be afraid to ask or to talk about it. Trust me. They are thinking of little else anyway, and they will appreciate it. Otherwise, you sit there trying to pretend like these other things in life are important. They might have been important a few days, weeks, or months ago. But, there are a lot of things that change your perspective on life and illness is one of them.

As for e-prescribing, I have been pushing it for a long time. I also get to hear providers complain about it if they have problems.  One of the common things I have heard at times is the provider saying that the "prescriptions don't get there." Whenever we research these types of issues, it seems to be related to timing or to the pharmacy not looking in a different place. Well, I have gotten to be on the other side now. It is SO frustrating to KNOW that the provider sent the prescription because you WATCHED it. However, you are standing in front of the pharmacist who is telling you that it is not there. How can that be? The first time that it happened, I thought it was just a mistake or something. The second time, it was with a different physician at a different office. The third time, I asked for a back up prescription on paper and I needed it. The fourth time, it was already filled and ready as I got there. I thought I heard angels singing then, but unfortunately 1 out of 4 times isn't a great result.

Accuracy is even scarier. I recently went to walgreens to pick up a prescription for a pretty heavy drug. After I waited for 15 minutes, I go to get it. She hands me a box of CALCIUM in a BOX that has been placed inside of a prescription bag. I told her that it was not a prescription for calcium but instead the other medication. She tells me that it is the generic form. Ummmmmmm....what do you even say to that? I asked for the pharmacist, and I thought she was going to faint. She got me the correct prescription. I am not sure I want to go back there. It was really frightening.

This has all left me to be proud and afriad. No wonder people have such a weird impression of our medical care. We have such amazing and talented people doing such amazing and talented things. However, it is these odd items that give it all a bad name. I truly wonder how people without family members who have health care backgrounds ever navigate a serious illness. The care, the insurance requirements, and the bills are a lot to figure out. Of course, if you have United Healthcare, you also have to deal with the annoying, "your claim has been placed on hold until you verify that the patient does not have other insurance." Ok, the first time, I was accepting. The second time, I was annoyed. The third time, I was angry. The fourth time was ugly. This was all within a month. What an awful way to do business! I used to like them.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh. I could have written this post, nearly word for word, on a lot of this over the past couple of weeks.

    You guys remain in my thoughts and prayers, non stop. xo.