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Walt Watson: Real health care reform requires some smart tech

Posted: March 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

This column is not about repealing Obamacare. It’s about having some real health care reform accomplished by using today’s technology.

On a recent visit to a diagnostic lab, I observed each patient was being asked for his or her health care card, which was then photocopied (regardless of prior visits).

Some were asked to complete a form for new patients, and a room full of us waited our turns to be called in for the tests (and this was at 7:30 a.m.!)

Some of us had paper copy orders from out doctors identifying the tests to be performed; some had to wait for faxes to be received from their doctor’s offices. 

When I went to have blood drawn, the phlebotomist had to find and verify my information on a computer to finally print the labels for the test tubes.

She then withdrew my blood and wished me a good day. The results would eventually go to my doctor’s office by fax or courier pigeon to be matched to my records, then the doctor will have to remember why I had that work performed and analyze the test results.

If there is a problem, a phone call will be made and another appointment scheduled.

Now imagine walking in at an appointed date and time that you selected on a web app, scanning your biometric health card that verifies your identity, then being greeted by a waiting technician who already has your information and those labels, and then taken to have your lab work done.

The results would be electronically transmitted to your primary physician and matched to your records. If results are normal, an email is sent to you; if there is a problem, the physician is pinged and a follow-up scheduled thatcan be selected on a web app.

Faxes, forms and appointment books are archaic and inefficient. As consumers who are plugged into the technology of the 21st century, we should demand better efficiency.

Don’t look to government for innovation — the federal government can’t even create a simple website for health-care enrollment.

Some innovative entrepreneur must recognize the tremendous profit that could be gained by a more efficient and effective health delivery enterprise.

Amazon and Google revolutionized industries; health-care delivery is a huge opportunity.

Walt Watson is a Saugus resident.


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