Science & Technology

The Problem With Doctors

Well, the problem is not with doctors themselves but when you have multiple doctors and the “failure to communicate” to quote Cool Hand Luke.

This is a relatively new issue for me. Most of my early adult life was spent in the military. So most doctors were in one building, the base hospital. For soldiers that were assigned to units other than the hospital itself, they had a “Battalion Aid Station” (BAS), basically an Urgent Care center. They could go there for “sick call” (early morning time for folks with colds, injuries etc..) and usually, they saw a P.A. (Physician’s Assistant). If they needed specialized care they would have an appointment made for them or were sent to the ER if needed (i.e. a broken bone that needed to bet set immediately).

Once they were under the care of a specialist, a surgeon, urologist,  internal med, orthopedist or OB/Gyn for the ladies, they would stop by the BAS, get their medical records and go to the appointment. This way the specialist had all tests, x-rays, lab work etc.. right there for each and every visit. It was a fairly good system. And if one doc had a question for a doc in another department, it was a simple walk down the hallway or just a phone call away.

What do we have now? Multiple specialists spread all over creation who only talk to each other when the patient asks. And then only if “the situation needs it”.

Case in point. I had blood work done last week. I asked the lab tech if the results of the labs ordered by my primary care doc be sent to my bi-polar doc, and the labs ordered by my bi-polar doc sent to my primary care. “Nope”. It’s not on the order.

Now I understand HIPPA laws. Back in the day, when I was doing websites (thankfully I don’t so that anymore), the Christian group I was playing webmaster for (and yes I was a “Christian” at that time and belonged to the group) wanted a “prayer request” page.  When I pointed out that a page listing names and illness and such violated HIPPA laws, they didn’t seem to care. They wanted it anyway. When I refused to do it on the grounds that as the “webmaster” it would expose me to a federal lawsuit, they still didn’t seem to care. The “We’re should be allowed because it’s for a good cause” was the mindset. No need to say I am no longer a member of said group.

But back to the blood work.  So I had to call my primary care doc had her office fax over the lab work to both my cardiologist and my bi-polar doc. No worries there. Her office is quite up to standards electronically, as is my cardiologist. My bi-polar doc? Not so much. The young lady I spoke to was very confused as to what I need to be sent and to where. How difficult is it to understand that I need the lab results the doctor you work for ordered sent to my primary care doc? Apparently quite difficult, as she called me back several hours later asking why did she need to send the lab results that my primary care doc had over back to them? So again I had to explain I only needed the results that YOUR doc has sent to my primary doc.

One thing that would fix that is a general repository of medical records. A giant database that everything goes to and any doctor you see, whether it be a new primary care if you’ve moved, or a new specialist you need to see, can pull your data out of the “cloud”.  But that is not likely happen. Too many hackers and that would be a prime target. If that data was breached and held captive people would die.  And that’s not good.

But what about a scheduled day once a month for doctors to get together and discuss patients that they have in common. I imagine a “Skype” or a conference call, doesn’t have to be video, where doc “A” can talk about patient “X”‘s recent lab work, and doc “B” may express concern that it may be cancer, while doc “C” says, it may just be a drug reaction. I figure if every doc took one day a month to handle their patients with multiple specialists, they could discuss every one of those patients at least once a year, and maybe every 6 months, with as many of the other docs as could attend. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but there hs to be a better way for doctors to communicate.

Got any better ideas?

Peace,
B

More End-Of-The-World Craziness

This morning over on Twitter (@beachdaze if you want to follow me), Emily Miller (@emmillerwrites to follow her) of RNS (@RNS to follow them) posted the daily Slingshot. It’s a short roundup on interesting religious articles. I usually find at least one, if not more articles that I find  more than amusing.  Today’s was about Nibiru or Planet X as it’s been called.  Supposedly this “Planet X” is going to collide with earth on September 23, 2017. Yes friends, we have but days, no, just hours to live! Why were we not informed of this earlier? Surely NASA (more likely Elon Musk) could have come up with a rocket to whisk at least a remnant of humanity away to safety.

But no. And why? Because it’s all BS anyway.  David Meade, the crackpot behind all this is using numerology to decipher the dates.  Numerology? And the number 33 specifically. I just can’t make this up!

Read the entire article here.  Make up your own mind. I’m pretty sure come September 24th, around 5:30PM, I’ll be opening a craft beer as usual. Feel free to join me.

And of course there’s a video for you too.

Peace,
B

A (Near) Total Eclipse

Tomorrow afternoon those of us in Central Florida will get to experience a partial solar eclipse. This is, apparently the first time in 99 years that parts of the continental US will actually get a total eclipse.

I understand the dangers of gazing into the sun at any time, especially during any phase of an eclipse.  Our local school board is taking, what I believe, to be extreme measures during our local viewing time. To quote:

“Due to the dangers associated with viewing the eclipse, all outdoor activities, such as athletics, physical education, extracurriculars and extended-day, will be held indoors beginning at 1:15 p.m. until the eclipse ends at 4:15 p.m. The district is sharing important resources with students, teachers and parents to take advantage of this educational experience, as well as encouraging safe viewing of the eclipse on appropriate television channels or online websites. “

I remember when I was in 5th or 6th grade (we’re talking about 1967 – 68) we had a partial eclipse viewable in Miami. Did we have to sit inside and watch TV broadcasts? Nope we went outside and were taught the safe ways to view an eclipse. I don’t think there were any mass-produced “Eclipse Glasses” at that time, so we did the punch a hole in a piece of paper and view the image on a second piece of paper, and made “box viewers”. Awe, the good ol’/bad ol’ days.

The Celts (my heritage), seem to look forward to eclipses.

Native Americans, would stay inside during an eclipse as they thought it was an ill omen.  The Vikings saw it as a pair of wolves eating the sun. In Vietnam, a toad or frog is eating the sun.

This article from 2013 National Geographic outlines some of the beliefs from around the world.

So don’t go run and hide and scream “Demons are eating the Sun!!” tomorrow.  The universe will survive, just like we did December 27, 2012.

Peace,
B

HOW DOES A WHO MAKE HERSELF HEARD TO HORTON?

This is a guest post from Wifey®, please retweet, repost or share as much as you can.

I feel like the Who inside the puff-ball shouting to be heard by Horton the Elephant. Remember that story? Horton is the only one who can hear the Who – but no one believes him.

Father gave a majority of his life to AT&T (and Southern Bell prior to the merger) – over 31 years of faithful service. He was proud of that fact and was rewarded with a small pension and employee benefits.

Fast forward – Father died last year. Mother died 2 years prior.

Apparently AT&T thinks Mother owes premiums for her Medicare she received through Father’s benefits since his passing. It doesn’t seem to matter than they have been notified 4 times of her date of death and provided with a Death Certificate. Last week, another invoice for past due premiums came to my home. Again, I wrote “DECEASED” across the invoice and returned it inside their own return envelope.

On the flip side, Mother received a refund check for Father’s Medicare that was deducted from his retirement pay for the month in which he died. A check a dead woman could not cash. I mistakenly thought a simple phone call would correct the error and request the check be reissued to his beneficiaries.

AT&T Benefits Center is a funnel through which life insurance, medical insurance, pension benefits, retirement discounts, Medicare, and other options are passed to the retiree. However, the funnel only runs downward. The notification of an employee’s death process is a tangle of departments and subsidiary companies; none of whom talk to another.

Four phone calls – waiting on hold for hours, transferred to 3 different individuals in 3 different departments – I was finally directed to “Joe”. Joe assured me the record for Mother would be deleted and the record for Father would be updated to reflect the dates of both of their deaths. Joe also assured me the refund check would be reissued again.

It has been 8 months since the first check, payable to Mother, was issued and 5 months since the reissue, also payable to Mother. Today, 8 months later, a letter from AT&T Benefits Center arrived notifying Mother of a uncashed check. I can assure you again that a dead woman cannot cash that check.

I am tired of this fight. I am frustrated with the incompetency and the insensitivity of the customer service representatives employed with AT&T Benefits Center.

Editors note:  I have reached out to AT&T through both Twitter and Facebook, with no response.  I can only assume that their social media accounts are “one-way” only and used solely for propaganda. It is truly a shame that a company as structured as AT&T would not have someone monitoring their own social networks. I would like to think that the representatives Wifey® spoke to are only limited in the scope of what they can accomplish and are not incompetent, lazy or downright uncaring. But it looks otherwise, and AT&T just doesn’t give a rats ass.

Random Readings

I’ve been reading a lot of science books lately.  Authors like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku.  Most of it has been over my head, especially the math.  Maybe if I had showed up for class more often in high school I would have had a better grasp of the concepts.  But in any case, the image above clearly explains the whole picture. I still don’t understand the equations, but now I understand where they fit.

Maybe it’ll help you too.

Peace,

B

Image credit my Twitter friend Queegs Vulgar Beauty.