This hassle is exacerbated by the fact that healthcare is one of the few consumer-focused industries where being a few minutes late is a sin so grave that it’s punished with a total cancellation of the appointment, and sometimes even the forfeiture of the fee.
I was ten minutes late to an appointment the other day, and the doctor poked his head out the door to let me know I’d have to reschedule.
“Can I come tomorrow?” I said.
“Give me a call.”
This article is full of such great quotes it’s hard to choose a single one to highlight its awesomeness.
One problem with American healthcare is that it attempts to staple a simple documentation system favored by doctors, who prefer to focus on patient care, onto an increasingly convoluted payment system favored by insurers. Nothing compares with the agony of losing the paper itemized receipt from an out-of-network doctor that you were planning to file for reimbursement using your insurance website. (Also, be sure you have a scanner at hand! Remember scanners? You bought yours in 1998.)
I pulled out this paragraph because I see this as a major problem. Medical records, which have traditionally functioned as a physician-to-physician communication tool, are now driven by billing considerations. Since payment by insurers is dictated by what is contained in the medical record, doctors are bastardizing their records to conform with what the insurers want. No longer are they about the patient; they’re about insurers.