Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Whole New World

I have been with my doctor since high school. He and a partner started a practice a few doors down from my parents’ store when I was 16. A few years later, they built their own space further down the street and grew to a five doctor practice.

Because I administer employee benefits, Dr. E and I would often talk about health insurance. I understood that it isn’t easy for five doctors to negotiate rates with BlueCross BlueShield. So when I heard through a co-worker that my doctors had sold their practice to one of the big hospital networks, I figured they were simply tired of the battle.

The first thing that I realized was that the hospital, which I will just go ahead and tell you is ENH, is all online. So I got on the web and registered. And found my records, including my prescriptions and get this – my lab results from last year. All online. I loved it.

I went in for my annual exam . There was a computer in the room, and the nurse logged right in, taking notes for my history and recording my blood pressure and stuff. She logged out and left.

The doctor came in, sat down and logged in. When I asked if he had just tired of arm- wrestling with BCBS, he said that was a part of it, but also that ENH upgraded all of the systems. He wanted the technology and ENH was offering to pay for it. I was all excited with him when he said, “This is the best part. Do you need refills of any of your medications?”

I said, “Um. Yeah. Allegra D.”

He said, “Shall I order it now or would you like to take a script with you?”

I said, “Now is fine.”

He confirmed my pharmacy, already in the system, pushed three buttons and said, “Done.”

“Are you even carrying a prescription pad right now?”

He was not.

So we did the exam and he took some more electronic notes and left. When the nurse came in to draw blood, she handed me a two page summary of the appointment. With codes. Codes! (These are handy when you are arguing with an insurance company).

I know the arguments about privacy, but I am just going to trust that ENH knows what it is doing. And the consultation with my doctor was no less personable than in the past. In fact, the computer looked like it belonged there to me.

I loved the whole experience.

No comments: