A few days ago, my husband and I had a terrible idea: To take my daughter’s 6-year-old friend and the friend’s mother out for a nice afternoon of Mother’s Day ice skating.
Many details here have been changed to protect the identity of my daughter’s friend, but one point that is genuinely true to life is that the child broke a bone.
The mom was there and had great health insurance from Giant Health Insurer Inc., so, no problems there.
The health insurer had a Web-based provider directory, so, in theory, between having the provider directory and Web-enabled cell phones, there should have been no problems there.
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In the real world, there were problems.
In a perfect world, Giant Health Insurer Inc. would have charged us $10 each to provide an app that would have pushed updated, personalized, localized kid care provider information into our phones every month, or even more frequently.
Mothers who wonder what they will do if their children get hurt are probably the world’s best customers for apps. Offer us programs that promise to adjust our children’s astrological charts to reduce the influence of Pluto on their injury rates and we’ll buy that one, then ask about apps for adjusting the effects of Mercury retrograde aspects. If we’ll jump to buy that sort of nonsense, then think how much more likely we’d be to pay 10 easy, 1-click dollars for an app that might actually have value.
As it was, we were driving through the wilds of Manhattan with a 6-year-old boy with a broken arm, pleading with the Web to dole out information as we passed in and out of cell phone range.
The provider directory said one thing about which doctors were in network; provider review sites seemed to say something else. There was no way to search for in-network doctors who could handle children with broken bones and were actually in the office at that moment.
When we finally got to a hospital — that was, according to the provider directory, in-network — the hospital and doctors were unable or unwilling to say which, if any, of the doctors the child was seeing were actually in network.
Of course, the injury happened on a weekend, so no live humans were available at Giant Health Insurer Inc. to answer questions.
Was the provider directory wrong, or was the provider review site wrong? Probably the latter, but only time will tell.