Finding new healthcare providers after buying your new house.

My husband and I just closed on our new home a week ago. While we initially sifted through the pages of paperwork associated with buying a home, I gave only a little thought to the need for us to find a new pediatrician for our daughter, a new primary care doctor for my husband and I, a dermatologist, a OB-GYN, a dentist and more.  With the move now in full gear, I find myself overwhelmed when it comes to the task of finding healthcare support in our new community.

To top off the complexity of this change, there’s the burdensome issue of accessing the electronic health records that house all the critical information about our past, our present and future healthcare data. Seemingly small details when we’re all healthy but a critical journey map and treasure trove of insights most likely down the line as we age.

All of this got me thinking about how complex healthcare is and the massive hurdles that remain for consumers despite the digital transition we’re in the midst of experiencing. Barriers that include:

  • Safely sharing my own and my family’s personal health records with a provider that is not part of a my current network.  Options include manually downloading personal health records via zip folder or printing. Both options generally make me feel unsafe given the sensitive nature of this personal information. You can also share your record with another physician through CDA format.  I am thankful to work in healthcare otherwise, CDA would be a useless acronym to me.
  • Easily identifying reliable, proven and trust-worthy providers that are covered by our insuranceThere are tools like Yelp, Healthgrades, Zocdoc and government-backed Hospital Compare. My main issue with all of these is there is no all-in-one solution that allows you to make a decision based on who is in your network, nearby and – even better – recommended not only by strangers but by people I know and trust as part of my own community. As a result, I found myself leaning toward the community Facebook groups for mothers in my new town. Hardly scientific or streamlined but it somehow felt more reliable.
  • Tackling fragmentation and lost time across the care continuum. You know what I love about Target?  I can take my two-year old there and buy almost everything I need – whether it’s Goldfish snacks for my daughter, diapers or cat food.  It’s a one-stop-shop which makes my life easier and maximizes the small amount of time I have as a working mom.  As we move further outside the city limits of Boston, I know my free time will be further reduced.  This got me thinking about the time to go to travel to appointments, the myriad of specialist appointments throughout the year, my desire for deeper insight on nutrition that our providers could not offer me or my daughter without – you guessed – another specialty appointment with a nutritionist. While I highly value specialty care, it got me thinking that there would be great value is something like all-in-one care, or at least enabling patients to schedule back-to-back appointments and also have more real-time access with experts that provide something other than sick care.

Like most things in healthcare, there is no easy fix to these vexing problems. But there is hope as big entrants like Walmart and Amazon and disruptors like One Medical and Forward take new, technology-driven and people-friendly approaches to creating next-generation healthcare solutions. I just hope some of these solutions are fully vetted and available when we make our next move and have to start the healthcare research endeavor yet again!

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