This is the boo-boo I got Saturday evening from a head-to-floor collision: four stitches and a still-developing black eye.  (I dropped the dog’s treat — a carrot — under the fridge, went down on all fours to find it, and… let’s just say this pediatrician is a klutz.  It’s not fair to blame the dog, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

The blood didn’t bother me, nor did the pain — it really didn’t hurt that bad.  What bothered me were the words that came from my non-alarmist wife: “You’re going to need stitches.”

“Really?” I asked.


Great.  My primary care doctor’s office was closed but I doubt he stitches lacerations in his office anyway.  My first instinct was to go to the ER;  my last was a retail-based clinic (unaffectionately known as a Doc-in-the-Box, the likes of which appear to be spreading in my area of town like norovirus on a cruise ship).  I figured I’d be waiting a long time (maybe hours!) at an emergency department to get sewn up, surrounded by sick, germy people. And I know how much a visit to the ER costs — big hit on the old deductible.  If you’ve been reading The PediaBlog, you know how I feel about the Doc-in-the-Box — no way I was going there.  Fortunately, there is a place sort of between those two options — kind of a step-down emergency room where I knew I could get quality emergency care at a lower cost.

I also knew — because I signed up last year to participate in a Health Information Exchange (the same HIE that Pediatric Alliance is a part of: ClinicalConnect) — that this was a facility where my vital health information could be easily accessed by the treating physician.  Finally, I knew that the documentation of my Saturday evening emergency visit would find my primary care doctor’s inbox on Monday morning.  (Many of the Doc-in-the-Boxes refuse — REFUSE! — to proactively communicate with physicians in the community.  This shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone!)

Thirty-five minutes and four stitches later, I was on my way home.  I received excellent skilled care from a physician trained in emergency medicine.  The rest of the staff was just as kind and attentive.

My purpose here isn’t to advertise for the St. Clair Hospital Urgent Care Center in Bethel Park.  (The fact that I have been on the medical staff at the hospital for nearly 24 years and have had life-saving surgery there speaks volumes to the fact that St. Clair Hospital is a great community hospital in the best sense of the word.)  Rather, the point I want to make is for our families to sign up their children and themselves for ClincialConnect!  By “opting-in” to the HIE, you allow limited but vital medical information (allergies, chronic medical problems, medication lists) to be shared among important providers of sometimes minor, but often life-saving, care.

“Opt-in” to ClinicalConnect the next time you’re in the office.  Do the same when you visit your doctors.  The Health Information Exchange allows your vital medical information to be available to those providers who want to provide the same skilled and kind medical care I received while also preventing duplication of services and errors in treatment, and improving communication —  three simple and important ways to lower medical costs.