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A while back, I had to go pick up some lab test results (not mine) from the hospital. I went up to the window and gave my claim receipt and waited. And waited. For a long while. The guy behind the counter had processed some other people already, but he also kept getting up and going to the back to check on something. Eventually, he came over to me and told me there was some "technical problem" with the results I was waiting for and asked for my patience.

Waited some more. After another while, another person came out, presumably from the back office and spoke to me, explaining there might be a further delay. She explained that the records for the test and the results were there, but they had trouble accessing it because it was marked as "cancelled" and that they were waiting for someone at IT to come and solve it. I told them I needed the results in an hour because the patient already had an appointment with the doctor. She said they would try their best and once again begged my patience.

Waited another half an hour, and finally the results were ready to be printed. I imagine that they finally managed to contact their lone, overworked IT guy, and he just SSH'ed into the database server and updated the record status manually, with a note that later he needs to check why the issue happened in the first place, something he probably never ends up doing.

It's a bit weird because these results are apparently stored digitally anyway before they are printed out and the copy given to the patient; and this is one of the government's top hospitals, so one would hope they would allow access to the results digitally/online, without needing me to come in. Maybe they'd argue that the results includes scan images that are too large to be sent digitally, so they give you a burned CD with the scan results, but this in itself is a redundancy, as I don't even have an optical drive anymore, so we can never access the contents of the CD they give! And the doctor usually only requires the write-up for her review.

I know some private hospitals and clinics over here already allow accessing results online; they give you an access code when you get the test done, and when the results are ready you can go to their website and input the access code to get your results. The more low-tech ones just ask for your email address or messenger or viber number and send you a scan.

Later, we had to do another lab test done and we headed to the same hospital's laboratory section. This was a busy hospital (government hospitals usually are), so there was an involved process. You'd go in and there's a machine where you get a ticket to queue for "charging", and there'd be a PA calling out ticket numbers and screens displaying ticket numbers as well. After you get called to a counter, they process you and hand you a statement, and you have to leave the laboratory area to go to the cashier to pay the fee. Then you come back and get another ticket to queue for "extraction", and again wait for the system to call your ticket number.

While this is fine, I feel like this (and many similar healthcare systems in the country) are a bit inaccessible for older folk who aren't too comfortable with technology. I noted when we came in that there was no one to assist or anything, you just had to intuit that "Oh, there's this machine, I should get a queueing ticket from it", and a lot of people might not be comfortable with that. Especially here in the PH, there are anecdotally a lot of people prefer to have someone to talk to and ask what to do rather than read instructions and figure things out on their own. It's fine when the senior has a companion (that's me!) who can do all the things and listen to the PA and run around to the cashier and such, but not everyone has that luxury.

(I am considering my future a bit here - since I don't have kids of my own, it seems likely when I'm old and needing a lot of medical attention, I'd probably have to do a lot of these things by myself!)

Wed, June 22, 2022, 9 a.m. / / blog / / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 742 words

Last modified at: June 22, 2022, 11:02 a.m. Source file