Requiem for a Portal
Your beautiful face will be missed, more than words can say.
Thank you all for coming. We gather today to mourn the loss of our dear friend, Kid Koncierge, our wonderful “Online Care Center.” She was far too young to have her brilliant light turned out. She was far too wonderful, too useful, too enjoyable, to have gone so early. She will be, oh, so sorely missed.
Most of the world won’t even notice her passing. Most were never lucky enough to have seen her, to have been bedazzled by her. Most of the world never even knew she existed.
But here in our little corner of the world, we knew what she was. We knew just how blessed we were to have her. We knew the value and the truth and the grace she bestowed upon us.
My dear friends, isn’t it amazing just how quickly we became dependent upon her? Isn’t it remarkable just how easily she inserted herself into our daily lives and became a part of our complete care system? Our workflow wasn’t disrupted when she was born into our midst; rather, our workflow was smoothed, our communications enhanced, our daily lives enlightened by her wonderful, unique ways.
She gave us beauty, yes. Her initial appeal was the gorgeous face she shown upon us all. But her depth was the clincher. The values she brought, the ease of use she displayed, the simplified grace with which she executed all her daily duties – those were the things that truly endeared her to us more than words can describe.
Those of us who worked with her knew how much she helped us. She helped us to be better care providers. She helped us to be better communicators. She helped us do our jobs better – from work, from home, when away – from wherever and whenever we needed.
Those of you who used her for your children’s care knew how much she gave, too. She provided insights and health details. She provided education about your children’s’ growth and development. She provided wisdom and consolation about healthcare issues and concerns. She allowed easy communication with her healthcare providers and enabled online scheduling without so much as a dial tone. You could ask for school or sports forms when your child needed them, uploading the blank form and receiving back the completed version ready to turn in. You could request prescription refills or specialist referrals, night or day. You could see growth parameters and curves. You could see all your children’s immunizations and know what they needed next. You could print the immunizations out to give to their school. You could even get automated reminders when vaccines were due (or when appointments were pending.)
All of this she gave to all of us – from our Web browser of choice, from our tablets, or from our phones. She helped us whenever she could, whenever we wanted, however we needed. She was always there for us.
When corporate needs dictate the closing of such a tool, the phrase “It’s only business” is often used. That may be ultimately true, but for those of us who knew her and used her in our day-to-day lives, it nevertheless feels somehow the rationalization. She wasn’t business; she was personal. She was deeply part of the care we gave, of the care we received. She was our friend.
There will be others who will eventually take her place, others who will fill the roles she left empty when she departed. Hopefully, those who come after will learn from her, will build upon her strengths, and will shine with a light of their own. But, they will all be challenged to ever reach the glorious glow she so easily shone.
We mourn today the passing of Kid Koncierge – our patient portal; our colleague; our beautiful, beautiful friend.
From the trenches …
“And then she left, and it broke my heart so completely I could hardly breathe.” – Lauren Oliver, Requiem
Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, an HIT and marketing consultant, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership.