Last week, I had to clear my calendar for two days and spend them in doctors’ offices and radiology labs. I developed a kidney stone last week and my doctors and I wanted to understand how large and where it was. The answer is 4mm and it was somewhere between my kidney and bladder as of last Thursday. That may be more information than you need to know.
Over four appointments, I experienced how much progress we have made during the pandemic and how much more we have to go before we have a high functioning software powered health care system in the US.
The good news is that for all four of my appointments, I was able to check into them via an app on my phone and in most cases, leverage stored information in apps on my phone to complete most of the forms. The stack of forms that we all usually complete when arriving at a new doctor has been reduced significantly during the pandemic, but it is not yet zero. I still had to complete at least one paper form at three of my four appointments.
The pandemic has forced health care providers to use mobile apps and software to automate much of the check-in functionality and that is great news. The fact that they only went 90% of the way there is a bit depressing though.
I also got most of my test results delivered into an app on my phone. But not the ultrasound and CT scans. I realize that I probably can’t read those scans, but I feel like I paid for them so I should have them. If I had them, I could post them here 🙂
But seriously, I feel like the last fifteen months have brought much needed and long overdue changes to the information collection and management practices of the US healthcare system. I can see the system changing in front of my eyes. And that is very exciting.
But I don’t feel like we are anywhere near where we can go and should go to leverage the power of information and software to optimize the experience for patients and providers. I hope the last fifteen months is the proof point that change is possible and that we can keep innovating and improving the experience without a crisis forcing it on us.