Why Can’t Technology Better Health Care?

For some reason, my throat has been on fire over the last few days. No matter how much water I drank, I was unable to ease the pain. I did, however, achieve a state of clear piss.
Today was my first visit to Boston University Student Health Services. (I think the guy in the upper right corner is the doctor that actually saw me.) Basically, I was told many times that I probably don’t have strep-throat, which is good. What do I have? “Um, well, just a sore throat.” Got some cough-drops for the road. Hey – free cough-drops!
“Okay, what’s the point of this post, shouldn’t Andrew go into a little rant about something?…” Indeed I do have a rant.

During the whole walk over to this place I was thinking, “for once I can go to the doctor and I won’t have to fill out too many forms, because BU made me jump through all sorts of hoops (physical, vaccinations, ‘cough for me please’, etc) back in Seattle. See, I move a lot. And each time I have to start over with filling out the forms, “Have you had any of the following medical conditions: cancer, allergies, mental problems, general pain, frustration with life, an unhealthy desire to update webpages?…” It’s really depressing to read through those lists. I hope no one has to check more than a few of those boxes. And each time I move I also end up having to get extra shots that I know I already had, “just to be safe,” because I manage to lose, or can’t read, my shot record.
But not this time. This time I just walk in there and they’re going to have it. Because I’m all checked out and I sent those “mandatory” forms in last year, before the “deadline”. You can guess what happened: “We don’t seem to have your forms. You’ll have to fill this out…”
Now, don’t we have the technology to put information into computers? Why don’t we just have a medical database where clinics and hospitals can look up our file? Why duplicate the work over and over again? “That would be scary! What if that information fell into the wrong hands?!” Look, all my money exists in a computer and that doesn’t bother me. Most of my intellectual and creative output exists in a computer too. All of this is in danger of “falling into the wrong hands” or (more likely) being accidentally screwed up by technical problems. Does that stop me from using my computer? Does it stop me from converting my greenbacks into binary? Heeeellll no. So why can’t medical information be stored in a database too? And frankly, I don’t care who’s hands my medical information falls into. Oh my god – now the whole world will know that I had a sore throat!