Friday, November 12, 2021

Logon to the ‘Impatient Portal’

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but recently I’ve received numerous emails like the one I got from my cardiologist the other day. It said, “Log on to the Patient Portal to see the results of your examination.” A couple of days before that I received an email from my health insurance provider, which said, “Review your claim status by logging on to the Online Membership Page.” 

Similar emails have been sent to me from my dentist, a blood lab company, my regular general practitioner doctor, and a local pharmacy. In every single instance, the email instructed me to click a link that would allow me to log in. And on every single login screen, I was asked to enter my username and password. Now, here’s the thing: in each case I responded by saying out loud to my computer, “But I don’t HAVE a username and password, because you people never GAVE me one!!!” (And yes, I did speak loud enough that three exclamation points are necessary.)
In a past essay, I mentioned that I have well over a hundred usernames and passwords for a plethora of different online accounts, both work-related and personal. There are manufacturing firms my company does business with, plus other outfits such as Amazon, Google, L.L. Bean,, and Lucky Dragon Chinese Take Out (where every order is ready, “In 10 minutes!” even if you always have to wait more like half an hour).

At this point, I don’t really mind setting up another six or eight healthcare accounts, if that’s the best way to get important personal medical information. But guys, you have to meet me halfway! With other organizations, take for example, L.L. Bean, if I see something on their website I want to purchase (because after all, who doesn’t need a new flannel plaid shirt every six months or so?), I select the item and then they give me clear choices: “Do you want to make a one-time purchase as a guest, login to your personal account, or set up a new account?”

The first time I bought something on the Bean website, I set up an account. I gave them my personal info, and created a username and password. Luckily, I remembered to write down the username and password right away. There have been times when I’ve created a username and password, and then two days later thought, “Uh oh, I never wrote it down. Guess I’m not buying anything from them again.” (Sometimes when I see my monthly credit card statement, I think, “Too bad I remembered to write down my L.L. Bean username and password!”)
The point is, they made it easy for me to create my personal user account. Unlike my healthcare providers, they didn’t jump right in with Step #2 (“Logon using your username and password”) before going to Step #1 (“Would you like to create a personal account?”)

Because I have no way of accessing my medical info, I’m forced to do what most guys do when it comes to healthcare: completely ignore it. No, I’m kidding. I’m not like that anymore. Having a person you refer to as “my cardiologist” has a way of making you rather serious about getting information. What I’m forced to do is call the doctor’s office and ask them to explain my test results over the phone.

When the receptionist cheerfully says, “Oh, you can get that information by logging on to the Patient Portal,” I am forced to tell a lie. Even though I work with computers and software all day at work, I play the geezer card. I say, “I’m so sorry, young lady, but at my age, I just don’t understand this interweb thing.”
The whole situation is way too stressful. It’s enough to give a guy heart trouble.

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