Friday, December 18, 2015

A tiny rant

As with a lot of US-based companies, mine offers preventive health assessments and lots of resources through a company called StayWell. Part of what’s offered is an online health assessment that has you enter things like total cholesterol, hdl, ldl, ratios—that sort of thing. Also blood pressure, weight, etc, etc, etc. I think it's pretty invasive, but figured I'd take a look. (Yes, I know the results are used in the aggregate and not at the individual level. Still think it's nosy and invasive.)

If I complete this particular online health assessment by December 31 and am enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA) insurance plan (definition here, IRS Pub--it's a PDF--here), I'd get an extra $300 contributed to my HSA. Well, I'm enrolled in an HSA and let's face it, $300 extra would be nice. Plus I have very current lab results from my annual physical so I decided to fill out the assessment even though I have those misgivings. Still--$300.

I got to the section where I needed to enter all my cholesterol values and when I tried to enter my hdl, I got an error message. My value was “invalid” and I needed to enter a valid number. Only my value wasn’t and isn’t invalid. I just happen to have very high, off the chart high, hdl cholesteral.

That’s actually a good thing to have, and means that my ratios are perfect. That high number does make my total cholesterol appear to be a bit over normal. It is, but that’s entirely because of the hdl numbers. This isn't a new set of numbers for me and both my current primary care physician and my previous one are pleased with my numbers.

So I tried to get the system fixed. I made phone calls, I emailed, I talked to an HR person at work, all to no avail. Oops, they said. Sorry about that. We'll take your feedback to the team. And the latest solution that StayWell offered was this: Enter 79 in that field and then the StayWell representative would enter my actual value on the back end.

Um no.

Basically I have to put in a false number and hope that it gets fixed on the back end. That’s just a horrible user experience and since it’s related to my health records and involves me essentially lying, I said no thanks. While I appreciated the offer, that isn’t a fix to crappy design and a poor interface. I guess I’m glad that I’m in a position that the loss of the extra $300 isn’t catastrophic. It just sucks is all. 

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