Now that I am relocated in a different city, I don’t have access to routine healthcare, just for urgencies, based on a cooperative arrangement with a sister organization here. This is appropriate and actually generous considering the type of coverage offered at home. At the same time, though, I will carry the feeling of needing to take extra care of myself. My personal physician doesn’t live here anymore.
Before I left, I did take a look at my preventive care schedule, and it so happens that it was time for a cholesterol check. I’ve achieved a “new level of adulthood,” and the guideline has shifted the screening age downward, so we’ve met in the middle. When I told my boss it was time, he asked me if I would be willing to take a statin if it turned out I was high risk (I haven’t been checked in a really long time). This isn’t something I was really prepared to think about. Even the most basic preventive test causes anxiety.
Because I access our health system like any other patient, I secure e-mailed my doctor who ordered the test, and before I left, I stopped in at one of our labs to get my blood drawn. When I arrived at home the next day, I was greeted with an e-mail reminder that my test was complete and ready for viewing. A relatively anxious login to our secure Web portal gave me the answer.
On reflection, I got to experience this quickly, in private, on my terms (different time zone, other side of the continent), and with the opportunity to follow-up whenever I want. 24 hours from blood draw to answer, and only this long because I didn’t have the opportunity to login sooner.
Every time I have an experience like this, I ask myself if there is any question that I am going to advocate for this for every patient in every care system. Maybe a better question is, what does it mean to take 1-2 weeks of anxiety and reduce it to a few hours? A lot.