03 September, 2016

ID cards for the doctor

Sitting at the orthodontist again. Alas I forgot to bring our "membership card".
This Facebook status on Wednesday stirred up a bit of discussion, so I thought I'd bring it over here along with some photos.

In Japan (and in Thailand, I discovered), every hospital/clinic has their own ID card. This usually includes the phone number and address of the hospital/clinic, your name and ID number. With five members in our family we've collected a few! You have to take them every time you go, along with your health insurance card.

Some of them double as appointment cards, with dates and times written on the back. Some also include the opening times and days of the clinic. That has been useful more than once, with some odd times out there. Most doctors and clinics have a morning and afternoon time. I don't know what they do in the early afternoon hours. Siesta? They usually have a day off in the middle of the week too.

We keep most of these cards in a little photo album, in five labeled pockets.

Cute photo album that hails back to the time when we used to get photos developed!

The problem comes when you forget them. For the last year I have kept the orthodontist's card in my purse because I use it so often. However over the summer David took our son to his appointments, so he had the card. Actually he put it back in our card-holding album, but I didn't think to check that I had it and didn't discover until I was nearly half an hour drive away from home.

But it really shouldn't be a problem. After we're in the computer age now. And that is indeed what they did: they looked him up on the computer and there was no problem at all. 

I therefore question the necessity of having a card at all. Is it merely a case of clinging onto something that worked well in the past? Or is it even an extension of the Japanese business card tradition?
Japanese Meishi (or Japanese business cards) have a much greater significance in Japan than in Western culture. In a society where an individual is less important than the group to which he/she belongs, meishi provides access to its bearer's identity. (From here.)

No comments: