Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We are, or could be, Better than Banks!

I try to stay away from Banks as hard as I try to stay away from the doctor's office. Unfortunately I had to visit both recently. A week ago I had to take my son to an orthopedic surgeon (nothing serious), and today I had to go to the bank.

The Bank

Granted, I needed a rather tricky service involving a public notary, but it was not a very complex transaction. I brought with me 3 sets of 5 forms (in duplicate) that I received through regular mail after several phone conversations with another bank. No, there was nothing online for me to fill out and be done. No, they couldn't fax anything over and no, I couldn’t fax it back. eMail? No, we don’t do eMail.

The bright young clerk at my local branch took the forms and after failing to understand the purpose and after asking around for a while, finally called the main office and literally read the forms out loud for the person on the phone.

Since I had plenty of idle time I started looking around. There was a computer on every desk, but there were also wire trays full of forms and yellow folders. This is a fairly new branch of a fairly large bank with lots of marble and glass everywhere.

On the other side of the room, there was another clerk attending to a young couple. I have no idea what they were doing, except that they were told to "sign here... and here.... name and address … goes here…yes, you need both…" several times and each time some new form was being presented by the very nice clerk and pulled away upon completion.

I walked out 45 minutes later with my stack of partially notarized forms that I would have to send back to the original bank by regular mail. The remainder required more forms to execute…..

The Doctor

Last week, I called the orthopedic surgeon for a consultation. The front office lady gave me a URL to go to and input my son's information, which I did. I noticed that if we would need more visits, I could book them online.

On the day of the appointment, we walked in and they snapped his picture straight into the EMR. They took my insurance card, slid it through a card reader and my son was told that he could update any changes to his info on one of the two computers in the waiting room (he found a way to get on Facebook instead).

It was a quick visit. The doctor came in chatted for a bit, checked out my kid’s elbow, said to just leave it alone (I love this type of doctor), shook hands and walked out. He never wrote anything. He is probably one of those docs that prefer to document in between patients. I know he read the histories before he came in though, so I assumed (and also verified with the nurse) that his computer is in his office.

We walked out 45 minutes later and as we were walking to the parking lot, I realized that I did not have to touch either a pen or piece of paper. And neither did the receptionist (insurance cards are plastic). And neither did the doctor.

When it comes to paperless office, Healthcare is eons ahead of Banks…..

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