Oh, The Places You’ll Go Once You Set Up Your Patient Portal!

A Seussian journey through the medical-industrial complex.

Jenna Nobs
Dec 29, 2020 · 2 min read
Image by brgfx on Freepik

Today is your day.
Convenient access to personal health records
Is just a one-star app away.

You have brains in your head.
You have teeth in your mouth.
Set up automatic refills
Before your insulin runs out!

Schedule an X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI —
Here’s a confirmation code to log into our site.
Lost it already?
We can’t say we’re shocked.
Our fifteen-factor verification
Should get it unlocked.

Now the portal is active!
Strap in for the ride
As the time-space continuum tears open wide…

You’ll scream, “Please God, no!
I knew I should have ignored
That green stuff on my toe!
I should have solved it with crystals!
Natural oils! Meditation!
Is that…could it be…
A missed payment notification?”

We’re sorry to say so,
But sadly, it’s true.
You owe us a lot
For the crusty green goo.

Sure, all we did was prescribe you a cream
That over the counter is $8.98
When its name-brand equal, mysteriously,
Costs ten times the amount
That it cost them to make.
But just play along! Don’t worry! Don’t let
Those Big Pharma profit margins get you upset.
What’s the harm in a little more credit card debt?

You’ll realize you’re starting
To feel a bit sweaty
When a pop-up declares:
Your MyLab™ test results are ready!
Is 1.9ng/dL good? Is 1.9ng/dL bad??
“??????!!!!!!!” you’ll type in the secure patient chat.

Should I search WebMD while I wait to hear back?

Yes, you’ll decide,
There’s no harm in trying
To crowdsource the question:
“Do you think that I’m dying?”

You’ll have settled on typhus
When a message arrives!
From your doctor, it seems —
But to your surprise,
Your session’s timed out! And your login’s all wrong!
You’ve tried too many times.
We’re not sure you belong.


Be your username Bixby or Bottom or Brauer,
Be your security question, “What underlying conditions make you a liability to your insurance provider?”
Get on your way! The portal’s sealed over.
Try again in 48–72 hours.

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