Our Medical Care System Needs More Work

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from: Longevity Explorers | Saratoga Retirement Community

Discussion Summary

Longevity Explorers at Saratoga Retirement Community discuss their encounters with the health care system. The group is asked a number of questions and shares their ideas:

  • How can one be an informed consumer and get the desired results? Explorer Helen leads off by saying that she reads several informative health organization publications and journal articles, including subscribing to their online updates. Rosalie reminds that knowledge of Medicare rules can be influential in medical decision making. Others cite their providers' web sites as sources, yet find that most of them remain 'works in progress' in terms of useful information and access.
  • What are some of the challenges encountered in using the healthcare system? A member reports that although she is able to message her doctor via his web site, she is hesitant to do so because of her lack of familiarity with it. Another cites a lack of coordination among her various care providers although the capitated systems seem to be better developed via electronic medical records. Others mention that although test results may be accessable online, there is scant interpretive data meaningful to lay persons. Lastly, public advertising of pharmaeuticals - especially graphic caveats about side effects can frighten patients.
  • What should change regarding a primary care visit?  Appointment scheduling should take into account travel time and traffic patterns when setting appointment times. During the visit, M.D.s should spend more time focusing on the patient and less time engaged in data entry during the visit. Members prefer to see their doctor (vs. a 'physician extender' such as a nurse practitioner or trainee) although phone access to an advice nurse can be comforting in the meantime.

The group discussed the use of electronic medical records accessible on their PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Security of medical data arises as a concern. The concensus is that when test results are available online, an interpretive layer is needed until they can discuss results with their doctor.



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Key words: 
health care providers, medical, medical records, Doctor, Medical billing