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There is peace that radiates from becalmed plaques of Caribbean Sea decorated with happy families bobbing and weaving in its cool waters. That calm is not mirrored when forced to examine the Jamaican healthcare landscape. On several occasions I have found it difficult to find a doctor or locate and access medical services. I have also had difficulties to find the best available doctors that specialize in patients with autism. Laboratory and diagnostic testing, general practitioners, dentists, chiropractors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, rheumatologists, audiologists, speech pathologists, pediatric neurologists, bio quantum therapists, you name it- I’ve had a problem to finding it!
A few years ago I suffered an injury to my back , that’s when I realized that the general listings in the yellow pages was not a comprehensive database. It gave little idea of specific services offered.
I had to call to find out availability of appointments, general fees, accepted insurance providers, or even general customer reviews. Calling led to waiting and waiting and waiting. Did I mention waiting?
The frustration of finally getting connected and the all too familiar click of that automated voice reminding you to ensure you have enough call credit to make this call.
After a number of those frustrations, I did what most people do- visited my general practitioner and hoped that he would have some advice.
Luckily, after preliminary examinations my general practitioner referred me to an orthopedic surgeon he knew well. Now, I am grateful he knew him because he turned out to be really good and was further able to refer me to a physiotherapist he knew well.
But the condition persisted and the trauma of being injured and the uncertainty of what was wrong made not knowing who to consult, painful.
I wanted to consider alternative therapy and technique practitioners; as a patient you have a right to obtaining a second, third, fourth, and even a hundredth opinion, but, unless your personal physician has an interest in such things, you will likely never hear about them.
Further, if you think about going to one of the major hospitals to get a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon or almost any specialist be prepared to wait! I don’t mean one day or two days I mean weeks, waiting on their receptionist to keep you in mind for openings in their schedule.
When I decided to move to another parish, I talked to several friends and searching the internet to try to identify alternative therapies available on the island.
That was a lot of searching, more calling credit and little result. I eventually went back to my general practitioner and asked him to refer me to another specialist.
I don’t know how someone else would’ve handled it, but I felt very weird asking my ortho to refer me to another ortho! Perhaps a stroke of luck , my general practitioner was able to refer me to a physiotherapist in that parish.
It took a lot of hunting, calling, visiting specialists, and again help from my general practitioner- bless his heart, to create a game plan for effective interventions and treatments. It took lots of patience to navigate the Jamaican health scene.
Imagine how much time could have been saved with a comprehensive and interactive online medical appointment system of available conventional and complementary health professionals and practices?
The Jamaican healthcare landscape needs such an innovation and one such site is taking on the challenge to provide this service.
I visited www.queuedoc.com; a website that promises to provide a database of doctors, allow patients to searched by specialty and offers features such as appointment scheduling.
This database will be available to the public for free. Patients who sign up will be able to manage their appointments and receive reminders so that we all can have the peace of mind that knowing brings.
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