Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Filling Out all those Doctors' Forms

Unfortunately I’ve been going to different doctors a great deal lately. There is always this huge amount of paper work that you have to fill out as a new patient. Usually several pages where you have to repeat the same information. I don’t understand why I have to fill out my name and address two or three times. Then of course your insurance information. Although lately they just take your insurance card and make a copy of it.

One of the things that comes to mind is why doesn’t the office e-mail the forms to you so you can fill them out before you come to the office. Just about everyone has access to a printer. They email you the forms. You print them out. Fill them out. Bring them to the office. You hand them to the receptionist when you sign in for the appointment. Certainly that would make things go much faster with a first appointment.

Or better yet fill out the forms. Scan the forms. Then e-mail them back to the office. Or the office could have an interactive PDF form that you fill out on-line. That way the form is typed and easier to read. I know my handwriting is not the best and filling out the form on-line would make the information a whole lot easier to read.  Also fields would expand so you wouldn’t have to cram information in a small space. Once you got to the office you could review the information and make any changes that might be necessary.

The other thing I find puzzling about having to fill out the forms is why do I have to do it if the doctors I go to are in the same network. With the insurance I have you have to pick a preferred provider. This is the doctor you go to for general problems. My doctor is part of MedStar. Most of the specialist he refers me to are part of MedStar as well. For example the physical therapist that I went to for my back. So why each time that I visit a doctor’s office associated with MedStar do I need to fill out all my information all over again.

I thought in the great information age that this information would be shared. I thought one of the things that was going to bring down the cost of health care was making it easy to share patient information between doctors. It certainly seems to me that if a doctor’s office is associated with MedStar it should be able to bring up my basic information by typing in my name and date of birth. That’s the way CVS brings up my information. It doesn’t matter what location I go to they put in my name and date of birth and up pops up my information. I don’t understand why MedStar is not the same way.

I guess we aren’t quite at that point yet. But it would be so nice if we were because it would make going to the doctor so much easier.

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