Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Welcome to the 20th Century Award

This week's "welcome to the 20th century" award is presented to Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle, WA. While attempting to pay my bill I followed the VM billing department's advice and attempted to set up an on-line account. After filling in the usual guff I was presented with the scree you see above. The key information here is "Your request is being processed and you will receive an e-mail within 48 hours with your password and login instructions". Really?

Now, "within 48 hours" could mean that I will receive it in the next 30 seconds (that being the average time in my experience it takes the majority of sites to set up an account and send you e-mail confirmation). However I suspect that if this were indeed true, the registration text I received would have gloated in the message "Your request is being processed and you will receive an e-mail within 30 seconds with your password and login instructions - so keep your eyes peeled bucko".

No, I really do believe that it will take them most of their alloted 48 hours to process my request. Given that even my 25 year old Sinclair ZX80 could probably process the account set up in a few minutes (and even run an nuclear power station!) this seems to imply that there will be *gasp* manual processing involved. Plenty of opportunities for them to screw up multiple elements of my personal data. Looking forward to that I can tell you....


Anonymous said...

Might there be HIPPA regulations on health information privacy that govern their turn around time?

Colin Bodell said...

No. Nothing in HIPPA that says "be slow. Be really slow". Patient privacy must be maintained - however there are plenty of systems that will do that *and* can send me the information I need in nearly real time. My Bank does it, as does my credit card company -- all govt. regulated with respect to security and privacy. No, I believe that VM is using an outdated system or process that requires someone to do this manually. (It took a little over 24 hours to get the information I requested so at least they beat their SLA).