You’ve been there, haven’t you? Down with seasonal flu or gum problems or even that niggling migraine. Nothing that a visit or two to the doctor won’t set right. So, you take an appointment and arrive at the requested time. Yeah, you may have to still wait for your turn despite the appointment, but let’s put a pin in that peeve (to be addressed at a later date). The doc finally examines you and comes up with a diagnosis. The medical professional then goes on to explain the treatment – the medication and any accompanying lifestyle adjustments that you might have to make – along with the duration of such a drill. All done, and you proceed to collect the prescription after making the required payment.
This is where my – and I’d believe a lot of others’ – issue begins. We make the co-payment that our insurer requires and we’re handed over the stamped prescription, which we then take to the pharmacy to collect the medicines. At the end of the day, besides the credit card counterfoils (if a card is used) and a bag of medicines, there are no tell-tale signs of our visit to the doc. We may have just walked across to a pharmacy and bought those medicines off the rack. I’ve tried the other route – of asking for an invoice from the reception, and I must confess that I’ve received it, too. But it’s done grudgingly every time I’ve insisted for one and, even then, the invoice just mentions the very basic details – like ‘doctor’s consultation’ and the amount charged, at times without even referring to the doctor by name, leave alone the diagnosis and/or a copy of the prescription.
The practice in most developed countries is that individuals do have access – both physical and online – to their own health records while parents have access to their kids’ health records until they turn 18 years of age. I’m told that my physician is obliged to share a copy of my records with me if I insist, but I’d welcome you to volunteer for such a venture and enlighten us on how it went. While the quality of medical professionals in Dubai and across the UAE is second to none, why is it that there is this cloud surrounding the billing process? You’ve given us a clean bill of health on several occasions, doc. How about a clean and transparent bill of services, too?
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