“In an attempt to arrive at the truth, I have applied everywhere for information but in scarcely an instance have I been able to obtain hospital records fit for any purpose of comparison. If they could be obtained, they would enable us to answer many questions. They would show subscribers how their money was being spent, what amount of good was really being done with it or whether the money was not doing mischief rather than good.” – Florence Nightingale.
It’s bad enough that what is stored out there on the cloud is almost guaranteed to be hacked – and fingers crossed that the result for us is not identity theft or a variety of personal details about oneself not being “out there” in the public arena – but when it comes to our medical care, systems, such as between medicos and hospitals, hospital to hospital or even internally in a hospital, just don’t cut the mustard.
The Australian Financial Review in a piece relating medical care could not have put it more bluntly:
We bank, shop, book taxis and airplanes, read the news, take pictures, post them on social media, and listen to music and radio on our smartphones.
But for most people, when it comes to seeing a doctor or getting a blood test, we dial the clock back 20 years. We call the GP’s receptionist, make an appointment, thumb through old copies of New Idea or Men’s Health, and just wait.
We emerge with pieces of paper pointing us towards pharmacists, pathologists, allied health professionals and medical specialists. Then we visit them to buy medicines or call them to arrange appointments, go through the whole time-consuming process again and pay through separate billing systems.
As for public hospitals, Rohan Mead, chief executive of health insurer Australian Unity, reckons Florence Nightingale would be at home after an hour of familiarisation.
It can be said with almost 100% certainty that what is described, above, as being the situation in Australia, applies just about everywhere else around the world.
But in an ever-more complicated world – and with all of us being time-poor and often confounded by all manner of things we need to be across and contend with – we need to look to third parties, or some means, to help us. There are already people (usually with a nursing or allied background) who offer a navigator-type service to assist their clients work their way through the labyrinth of getting to the right medico, hospital, treatment centre, etc. Now we read of a wealth mentor in Australia, whose business is called The Wealth Tutor, assisting her clients in strategies around budgeting and goal planning.
Of course there are always lawyers readily available to address issues such as there being a will in place, relevant powers of attorney being done, end of life plans committed to paper and not to forget estate planning.
All too often lawyers, wealth managers, accountants, finance professionals, retirement home managements and other professionals are all working in silos. One doesn’t really know what the other has done and put in place. Add to that children of aging parents not knowing anything about their parent’s affairs, let alone their plans for the future, and a costly and messy situation, perhaps presently, but certainly down the track, is almost a certainty.
To the list of people available to provide a service to fill a need (and one growing segment is that of professional organizers) is an aging life care consultant – as explained in a piece “The Difficult, Delicate Untangling of Our Parents’ Financial Lives” in The Wall Street Journal:
“Sometimes it is worth it to get outside help: When you are dealing with life’s normal issues with your own children, setting up a parent’s medical-rehab appointments and answering the latest phone call about a parent who has fallen, it can be overwhelming to also be sorting through Medicare forms that you’ve never seen before.
So, hiring a social worker known as a geriatric consultant, if it’s in your budget, can help you keep your sanity, including filling out forms and knowing what rehab facilities make sense in your city. The more-trendy term for these advisers is “aging life care consultant.”
One might readily exclaim that it is all very good and nice suggesting engaging a variety of people to assist, support or navigate the medical minefield, the issues surrounding aging parents – and who of the sandwich generation isn’t confronted by the problem?- or trying to marshal our financial and other personal affairs. They all cost money.
Whilst apps on mobile devices and cloud-based services via our computers go some way in providing some assistance, at a modest cost, in helping us to meet the challenges of somehow or other having a record of things, however imperfect – yet, leaving one with no assurance, let alone any comfort, in knowing the integrity of the “system” (that is, the cloud) our personal details safe and secure – LifeBank and HealthBank goes a long way in providing the user, and third parties with the requisite permissions, with immediate access to and the ability to manage the data on the data key. What ought to propel use of LifeBank or HealthBank is that that the data key is fully encrypted and it is the user – the holder of the data key – who is in control of the data key 24/7 and the vital information on it.