Monday, June 27, 2011


The Large Teaching Hospital that did my surgery just gave me an automated appointment reminder. The robo-voice opens with, "This call is from Large Teaching Hospital for :Donna: to remind you that you have an appointment on :date: at :time: with :Doctor X: at :address:." Robo-lady rattles all this very specific data off without even verifying who has answered the telephone.

The next sentence she utters is, ironically, "In order to ensure our patients' privacy, we ask that you bring all your insurance information with you to your appointment." Privacy? Um, I hate to tell you, robo-lady, but you blew my privacy out of the water when you recited every atom of my appointment data without first confirming, via a check such as "if this is :Donna:, press 1", that the person answering the phone is the actual patient who has the appointment.

Thank God I have no medical secrets from Mark. But what about people who are trying to keep their relationship with a particular doctor quiet? Maybe they don't want to worry their spouse, kids, parents, etc. about their visit with, say, an oncologist until they have a concrete diagnosis of what's going on. I can easily see where a robo-call would throw a big monkey-wrench into the ability to keep such an appointment quiet. There has got to be a better way.

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