Stop Writing Things Down

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone expects me to write down the same thing over and over again when they are are providing a service to me. An example of this would be the medical system in India. I’ve visited the same hospital about 4-5 times and everytime I use their service I end up writing down my name, address and etc.  And, this is even after they have given me a customer ID which has all the information already. When I question them, the response is always the same “sir, that is the way our system is.”

For the medical system to be so antiquated in this day and age is a shame. Everyone is so busy we don’t have time to keep on repeating the same thing over and over. Writing down my name is actually the least of my concerns, what is more alarming is that certain things slip through the cracks.  If a persons entire medical file was put online, the doctor and/or hospital could constantly monitor what is happening and throw up any red flags if a certain medicine was given for a prolonged period of time. Or a new doctor could instantly have access to the entire patient history file online and quickly get up to speed about the patient.

Over the past 4 months, I’ve been on Storvas (a cholesterol reducing generic of Lipitor) and have had to get my liver functions tested every month as the doctor adjusts my dosage of Storvas (20mg, 10mg, 5mg…). It’s the same racket every time – I fill out a form at the hospital, they take my blood, after a day or two I pickup the results and then go see my doctor.  Could this process be automated? Of course. In an ideal world I would have given my ID, they take my blood and my results would have come via email as a PDF attachment. Then I could have forwarded the results to my doctor. (Of course, my doctor is 85 years old and I can’t see him screwing around with the latest version of Adobe Reader to view my blood results.)

Another example is when I get my car serviced by the same company that sold me the car. They already have all my information in the system but yet they will always ask me to fill out a form. And yes, the form has the basic information such as car, plate number, address, etc… Luckily, they do keep track of the work done to my car. I asked if I could get access to that historical information and of course it’s a closed system…not surprised.

Writing things down for your personal benefit is fine, the problem is when you are in a commercial setting is where things break down. In India, the writing things down system (WTDS) is super cheap and thus if someone has to write down the same thing 10 times it’s okay. It takes real money to modernize a system and I’m assuming as businesses get more competitive in India, they will have look at technology to up their game.