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The Weakest Link
Remember that TV show from a decade or more ago? When a contestant failed to answer a quiz question correctly, the host would sternly declare, “YOU ARE the WEAKEST LINK. GOOD-BYE!” Remaining, of course, were the more knowledgeable contestants, presumably a stronger chain of smarter people who could get the job done. Oh man, how I wish I had been able to invoke that host’s dismissal powers this past week! As both my husband and I had to deal with different parts of the healthcare system, we encountered roadblocks – the weakest links – and in each case, we had to go over their heads to get what we needed. THEY were the weakest links. The problem is, they are still working there, stymie-ing patients every day. And over and over again, the words of so many of you echoed in my head, “How do people who don’t understand the healthcare system manage to get what they need?” The problem I ran into was a mere frustration. My primary care doctor’s practice, purchased by one of our local hospitals about a year ago, finally moved to electronic medical records earlier this year (using Epic). Prior to regular visits, I get blood work done – standard stuff – and in the past, my doctor has always just handed me a written prescription for the blood work, which I would take to the lab for a blood draw a week or so prior to my next visit – in, out, done. But at my last doctor visit, no more written script. Instead, I was handed a print-out from my new electronic record which indicated what blood work was needed and I was told to just take that to the lab when the time came. Having lived in this dysfunctional healthcare world of “nothing happens the way it should” for so long – I decided last week, the day before the blood draw day, to call the lab to confirm that indeed, they would accept that print-out. But no – they could not, because they didn’t have access to the Epic system, and…