If I could change one thing about health care (NHBPM 18)

…it would be to bring the communication methods into the modern day.

Harness the power of email, the internet, and smartphones to make communication between patients and providers possible, easier, and more efficient. It sounds revolutionary, because it would be.

I assume there is antiquated quasi-legal precedent for privileging telephone and facsimile communications as private and secure. But that is laughable, and you don’t have to slide very far on the the paranoid spectrum to see the potential problems.

Maybe when you call the doctor’s office, the receptionist doesn’t put you on speakerphone. But how often does she have to repeat back your name, symptoms, and phone number, just to make sure the message is received? How often is the receptionist seated at or near the waiting room and/or the checkout desk? How often are there other people in the room — within earshot — who have absolutely no legitimate role in your care?

Q. How is this better and more secure than sending an email to your nurse or doctor?

A. It’s not.

I hate talking on the phone. I do it as little as possible. It’s awkward, inaccurate, and temporally inconvenient.

I also do not send faxes except under extreme duress. Faxes are inconvenient to send and receive, and even once you’ve managed that, how many legible faxes have you ever received? That could be anybody’s signature on that records release — or is it a birthdate or their pizza order?

When will I be able to request a doctor’s appointment online, the way I do with my hairdresser?

When will the insurance company be able to email me all my “not medically necessary” denials, instead of sending them through the mail?

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