I just received two portentous, if not amusing, things in the mail from two different MultiCare providers. I say amusing, because my autonomic nervous system converts to amusing what would otherwise incapacitate me with terror.
One message thanked me for my recent visit to Allenmore Hospital, and included a thoughtful two-page evaluation form. My most recent visit to Allenmore Hospital was four years ago, so you can imagine how thrilled I was that they finally asked. I would love to write them about my experience, but I’m afraid that my letter would only join the abyss of files from which the notion that I have recently been to Allenmore Hospital came. So I will write to them here, publicly.
Dear Allenmore Hospital,
Thank you for asking me to share my experience in your lavishly appointed ER. I was there with an incapacitating migraine four years ago. It was a completely avoidable problem. I carelessly ran out of Imitrex injectors. I waited five hours to see a doctor. But the entertainment was worth the price of admission.
After about two hours of staring at the tropical fish, I saw an undertaker, decked out in top hat and frockcoat, wheel a stiff out through the front door. A little while later, a fellow was brought in on a gurney, kiting on meth, three Taser probes in his neck and chest, cursing at the top of his lungs, with a police escort who was understandably not amused.
When it finally was my turn to speak with the triage nurse, I said, “Look, I’ve been here over three hours, and the only person I’ve seen leave this place was dead. Now what are my chances?” Your unflappable nurse said she thought they were pretty good. A good time was had by all. — Dutifully, Lauren B.
The other MultiCare advisory to surge my confidence in automated medical records efficiency came from my doctor, reminding me that she had no record that I had reported for the MRI to which she referred me. I can only wonder in that case why she called me two weeks ago to discuss my MRI results.
I don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t. — Dutifully, Lauren B.
MultiCare is using Epic, an electronic medical records system, probably in order to get a toehold in the new mandate for universal automated health care records. Behold how well it works.
If you want to make a real difference in health care reform, quick: Run to a stationery department, while one still exists, and buy your doctor a pen and a pad of paper. Teach him or her how to use them. The life you save may be your own.