One of my relatives is enrolled with a healthcare system that seems pretty fantastic from just about every aspect. Thus, I was surprised when she was showing me a report on her health that had the instructions “enter code C427 and click on Search.”
She was given a set of instructions to follow that did give the basics, but it then told her that she could get more details if she went to the healthcare system’s web-site, entered code C427, and did a Search.
As you might expect, I had a field day with this. After all, as great as they were, they had to result to silly codes to find things. As often as we cringe when we do this with our LIMS or ELNs, I felt a bit smug that the healthcare folks had to sometimes resort to the same thing.
But I then thought about it and felt a bit less smug – how many times have we done searches and had so many results that we were unsure which one was the one we wanted? How many times have we gotten things that weren’t what we were looking for? How many times have we found everything EXCEPT what we need?
Upon thinking about it, maybe coding the items isn’t the worst thing. If they can be found with a keyword search, that’s great. But for the patient that just wants to get to the right thing without pawing through a multitude of search results, maybe giving them one code isn’t the worst thing, after all. In fact, maybe it really is efficient.
And, maybe I shouldn’t have felt so smug, after all. 😉