I was sitting in an exam room waiting for my doctor to pop in and I didn’t have anything to do but read the signs and posters on the wall. So I did. All of them. I can now name all of the parts of my lady anatomy in graphic detail and I can also tell you how dangerous Whooping cough can be. I memorized every stage of fetal development and can now recite the phone number to sign up for the local hospital maternity tour. I’m also aware that it is my responsibility, and mine alone, to make sure my insurance plan is accepted by all medical referrals I receive. In short, I’m practically a walking encyclopedia on maternal health in a rural town in South West New Mexico.
One thing that especially caught my eye was a sign urging people to “Sign up to access your medical records online today!” It caught my eye because it was displayed on three different walls. Plus, getting information out of my doctor is like pulling teeth. Having access to my records would be really helpful. I’m the kind of person that feels better with more information instead of less. I want to analyze results and compare them to past tests and Google them to my hearts content. It’s one of the things I live for.
Anyway, on the way out of the office I stopped by the front desk and asked if I could sign up to view my records online. The receptionist at the front desk looked up at me with confusion. I told her I had read the sign posted all over the walls and thought it would be a good idea to sign up. Finally a look of recognition swept over her face and she said, “Oh, that system has been down for about three months.” Then she leaned towards me and whispered, “Besides, the doctor doesn’t give you access to anything like test results so accessing your records online here is pretty much useless.”
So, there you have it. Life in a small town. Sometimes it’s maddening. Sometimes it is funny. Sometimes it is both. There are always outdated things posted to walls and information is so valuable even doctors hoard it.