It’s about time my office becomes “meaningful” in its “use” after all these years wandering aimlessly through patient care as my so-called career lurched forward like a camel over shifting sands.

I can’t tell you how liberating it feels that someone has finally provided me “meaningful” direction and purpose. It’s not the first time our government has worked hard to deem me worthy. Before HIPAA, I spent a lot of time and money making my patients’ records easily accessible to anyone who happened to be around. I usually just piled them up in the backyard at the end of each week. I never gave a thought about security. Wow! Thanks, HIPAA!

But that’s nothing compared to becoming meaningful. My heart leaps with joy as I spend another 50 grand so my computer can tell me whether my patient speaks Spanish or English, if that ninth grader smokes, or how much that grandmother weighs after she’s been seeing me for 35 years. Oh, the sheer joy of spending 15 happy minutes eRx’ing instead of 30 boring seconds writing out a prescription—with an actual, labor-intensive pen!

You know what I’m saying. My cup runneth over. My patients now have the distinct privilege of staring at my backside while I carefully input their information into the computer. I’m thinking about sewing an iPad on the seat of my pants so they can see how the latest free-form progressives make life “meaningful” for them, too.

It’s a Meaningful Life

Friends, we are on the brink of a wonderful era. In the old days, if a crook wanted to see my records, he would have to break into my office, find my files, steal them and have FBI decoders decipher my handwriting. Now they can just hack me from Nigeria. It’s so much more efficient for the whole system.

I love that the HITECH (the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health!) Act lets me rest my tired old brain while the government tells me what to do, how to do it, and how to make it accessible—but, at the same time, not accessible to anyone. Seems like someone may want those records someday, though the records must never be accessed and the government would never-ever come between my patients and me. My “unique” patients, I mean.

Patient “care” was hard. Patient “encounters” are so much more meaningful. As meaningful as I now am, I don’t think Obamacare takes my meaningfulness far enough. Wouldn’t it be better if we had to counsel people on cheeseburger cessation? Maybe we should include in the chart whether their cheap glasses made their sideburns green? Plus, I think it’s important to track their bathing days so we can schedule around their stinky BO. I also like to keep a flow chart on who brings me cookies.

I know what’s coming and it’s not right. It’s just a hop, skip and jump away from reporting who has Tea Party bumper stickers or Save the Snail T-shirts. And what if they have both? Shouldn’t that conflicted patient pay more for insurance? For now, we’ll just have to thank our lucky stars that we live in this meaningful time where we get to follow orders like good little lambs.On that note, I gotta go. My computer’s telling me to weigh someone.