Sunday, May 19, 2024

C. Stroup: Paperwork – how aptly named

C. Stroup
C. Stroup

Last month I was all about the annoying survey seekers. This month I’m sorry to report my topic of conversation also makes my temper run quite short. This relentless sweltering weather, of course, plays a part but even that aside…I’m about to blow my cork!

I am always very accommodating when the receptionist at the dentist’s or doctor’s office asks me to revise my health information. I understand their need for an update. It’s important that they keep those records straight. But recently I’ve been faced with seeing new physicians due to being referred for special medical conditions…nothing severe or radical. Just things my GP wasn’t equipped to tackle. This has brought about unrealistic expectations of me by the medical community. “It will be easier and save you time, Mrs. Stroup, if you fill out your new patient paperwork online.” On each occasion I hear these words my head begins to ache and my teeth begin to grind. I know all too well about ‘this is going to save you time.’ In fact, that’s one of my personal favorites. The 26-page new patient questionnaire (and they don’t tell you this part) will “time out” if you take too long between pages. Now this is really outrageous. Seriously, if you need to walk away because you have to go you better pray Mother Nature doesn’t take things too slow.

The first time I lost all my information I was in disbelief at the invitation. There on the PC screen it said: “Welcome to Dr. Forms’ Practice ~ Please fill out these forms again.” Since I already had spent most of the day filling in blanks I wanted to curse but instead I just prayed. I prayed for the courage to get through the mire. This one part really confused me as to what it inquired.

Back in the day when you were asked to select your gender you had TWO letters to choose from: either check A for female or B for male. Here it is 2022 and that ship has sailed. One practice had a rather extensive version of the ‘two letter’ option. It asked for your gender at birth as shown on your birth certificate. (I thought I just had for all that was worth!) Then followed: Gender Now Known As: LGBTQ+ (look it up). “Here are some letters for you, “OMG!” I can’t imagine what my grandmother would think if she happened upon this form she’d believe her eyes were on the blink! And by the time she’d looked them all up for sure her session would have timed out.

So at last all the pages are complete ~ all ready for the doctor when you meet. But before you hit send you must sign. Sometimes you’re given a choice on the bottom line. If you’re prompted to use cursive you might just as well close your eyes. Drawing on the screen will take several tries and even at that it can’t be recognized. Typing your signature is acceptable on some questionnaires so why not all instead? Signing in print makes everything clear.

One thing for certain that’s very clear to me
Filling out paperwork in advance
Isn’t that helpful to the patient I see!

C. Stroup
C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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