Thursday, October 21, 2010

More hoops for Ontarians seeking bariatric surgery.

I've blogged before about how Ontario's Ministry of Health has chosen to shut the doors for timely access to bariatric surgery for Ontarians.

As part of their much bally-hoo'ed new strategy they decided to create a centralized bariatric registry which involves a website where physicians register so as to apply to have their patients wait for months to years to get an appointment at a bariatric assessment centre.

Well just two weeks ago, after 7 months of "coming soon", the site finally went live and yesterday I had the opportunity to use it.

Want to know what the site does?

It requires physicians to register for access and in return it provides physicians with access to a PDF form.

The form's not fillable - it needs to be filled out by hand (because we doctors are known for our fabulous handwriting I suppose).

Call me crazy, but I would have thought that after 7 months of web development at least I'd be able to actually fill out the form online (whereby submitting online may have privacy concerns).

Or at the very, very least I'd be able to print out the form and photocopy it so that I'd have it available in my form folder rather than have to physically log onto the registry's website each time and go through 4 separate pages before reaching the actual form that I then am required to print, retrieve from my printer, and fill out, but that's not the case because each form has a unique number on it.

And while I'm sure it sounds like I'm whining and being fickle and nitpicky I can tell you that family doctors are a busy bunch and while forms certainly are part of our lives, this 1982-esque, fax machine, hand written, print each time system is only going to slow things down further and is just yet one more example of how the organization of Ontario's bariatric surgical program doesn't seem to reflect a clue.

[Here are the instructions the site provides for filling out the form:

•Always use a ballpoint pen, preferably black. Do not use red or pencil.
•Print all text and numbers legibly, and inside the boxes without any loops or extra strokes.
•Mark all choice fields (e.g. no/yes) with an X.
•If you make a mistake or wish to correct any item on the form, strike through the error with a single horizontal line and write the correction next to it. Never erase or use white-out. Date and initial all corrections and remember to refax if necessary. The original referral form must be used for corrections.
•When faxing, the page must be oriented vertically so that the database can read the barcode at the top.
•Fax all completed referral forms to 1-800-268-2370. Do not send a cover page or any other documentation.
•Check to ensure the fax transmitted successfully