Ahem. :-)

I am about to punk my well-known doctor. :–)

Me being me, I just had my annual physical. Great visit and all that.

Yesterday I got a letter about my lab results. My cholesterol and weight are trending unfavorably, so the good doctor said “you need to take lifestyle changes more seriously to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.” (I hear doctors hate it when they save you from cancer and then you go die of slovenliness.) More advice followed, good personalized stuff.

But then the robot part of the letter kicked in:

If you can use the Web and want more information
about cholesterol levels and what they mean,
see http://medlineplus.gov/cholesterol.

If? Web? What Web?

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Comments

5 Responses to “Ahem. :-)”

  1. Oops! We don’t have robot letters like this… and I suspect all of the letter was robot, not just the last paragraph. We ask patients to come and see us. But we should be better at getting good information to them, I am sure.
    What did he say when you challenged him?

  2. Challenged who, the robot? :–)

    I know it wasn’t an all-robot letter because (a) I’ve seen him use the system and (b) it has typos in it and (c) as I said, there’s content that came directly from our live interaction.

    Re having patients come in to discuss these things –

    a) Dr. Danny Sands and I have an unusual relationship in that we now work together on after-hours things. And as he says when we tell our story live, he’s long known me well enough to judge when we do and don’t need to meet. There is no error of judgment here on that point.

    b) This letter contained no counseling that we hadn’t already discussed at length during the annual meeting, except that the letter had the lab details.

    c) Thinking back, a month earlier I had tried to whine myself out of the face-to-face appointment, and he’d said no: “We haven’t seen you in ages.” (Ten months, actually, but the point is, he insisted.)

  3. ePatientDave says:

    Cracking myself up here… new on e-patients.net: "Ahem. :-)" http://is.gd/5qrpW

  4. Barry Sudduth says:

    Your visiting the doctor to have your cholesterol checked has reminded me of another aggravation of mine. Why shouldn’t people be able to check their cholesterol themselves. Currently, i-Stat handheld blood gas analyzers cost a few thousand dollars. If they could be sold as consumer electronic devices and/or leased by individuals, the price would come down so that the masses could individually manage their cholesterol as much/as little as desired.

    I wonder how many people have died of a heart attack while waiting 3-6 months on their next checkup to see if the diet/medication changes are having the intended impact on their lipid profile.

    My question to all who would read this is do you know if there are any coordinated efforts to allow more sophisticated medical diagnostic equipment to be sold to the masses?

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