Every time I have an encounter with the medical community, I recall former Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson’s rejoinder that the average supermarket is more technologically advanced in many ways than the average hospital. He wasn’t commenting on the whiz-bang gizmos that seem to proliferate in hospitals but rather about the manner in which they conduct their day-to-day business.
Last week I had a “new patient” visit with a physician. Sitting in the waiting room, attempting to balance the clipboard while completing the paperwork, I got a bit annoyed when I had to write my date of birth for the sixth time (I am not making this up) on the fourth form – and there were three forms left to go. Putting aside the fact that whoever had written the HIPAA notice apparently had no idea of the actual HIPAA requirements, I trudged on, ultimately handwriting my date of birth nine times.
Yet there may be some good news on the horizon – though some cautionary notes come with it. A recent study by Manhattan Research suggests 42% of physicians say they’ve discussed clinical symptoms online with their patients. Surprisingly, the same study reports that more than 9 million consumers say they’ve had some sort of e-mail correspondence from their primary care physician.