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April 21, 2008
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You Can Take it to the Bank — DocuBank

Follow me on a brief journey through the imagination. Imagine that you care about your personal health and safety. That’s not hard. However, do you have a will? A large majority of Americans (76 percent) tell us they understand the importance of having a will. However, only about 43 percent have wills and fewer have bothered updating them to reflect the fact that they have now been married, divorced, remarried two or three times, have new children and grandchildren and a strong desire to leave a substantial estate behind for the care of Fluffy, the toy poodle. 

Imagine, in your caring, that you are one of the very few Americans who has formally designated a health care surrogate — another person whom you empower to make medical decisions affecting your fate when you are not competent or able to make those decisions for yourself. Imagine that you’re one of the very few Americans that have created a “living will” (one of about 36 percent).

This important document is a form of communication to others such as the trauma center or medical staff about your advance directives. Do you want to be kept alive by artificial means? Do you want heroic efforts to be made to prolong your life, or do you want to order a DNR (do not resuscitate), should you be very likely to die? Do you have a highly acute allergy, as some people do to shellfish, bee stings, peanuts or watching Dancing with the Stars?

Most people have wills. We realize the importance to ourselves and to our families to take steps now to make our wishes known when we may not be in a position later (i.e., when we’re dead) to make them clear. However, we don’t take the follow-up steps to create a living will or designate a healthcare surrogate to help us before we die.

Now imagine that you are the beautiful, young HR Doctor Daughter Rachel. You are working a shift in an emergency room at 2 a.m. when a trauma alert is received and paramedics bring an auto accident victim to you. You have an ethical and a professional commitment not to let him die. To do that, you must intervene fast and in the right way, based on all the judgment borne of education, experience and commitment. 

There may be identification in the victim’s wallet that tells the medical staff that he is a visitor from Cleveland, but neither the emergency room staff nor the police are able to contact anyone at his driver’s license address. In fact, he may have moved but failed to change the address reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks and the doctors must make critical decisions. His fate will be in the hands of total strangers with no guidance from his unconscious body about what he wants done and whom he wants notified of his situation.

Personally, as Dr. Rachel’s father, I would not have the slightest problem leaving my fate in her hands. In fact, she is my designated health care surrogate. But you don’t know her, nor do you know any of the doctors in the trauma center who will be responsible for your care at the worst of times. 

All those cares can disappear quickly through a service known as
DocuBank. DocuBank stores key documents electronically such as the health care surrogate designations and living wills.  A DocuBank member is provided with a wallet card and a sticker for the driver’s license that will immediately tell the medical staff as well as the paramedics on scene that critical information about you is available 24/7/365 by contacting DocuBank.

All it takes is a phone call for the medical staff to receive critical information about you, including allergies, within seconds. That information will guide the staff in the best treatment possible for you, in notifying people you love, and in making sure that the decisions made under very difficult circumstances are as consistent as possible with your own wishes.

DocuBank offers for personal health and security the same kind of safeguards that lead us to deposit our paychecks in a conventional bank. There are walls of protection to guard the data and trained personnel to make the services come alive. Unlike a conventional bank however, the doors don’t close at three in the afternoon, nor remain closed on holidays or weekends. 

I’m sure you answered the questions at the beginning of this article in the affirmative. You do care about your personal health and your security. You might want to open a membership at DocuBank as a powerful tool in enhancing that security.

The HR Doctor has an affinity relationship with DocuBank. That means that if you note on the membership form — available at  —  that you were referred by the HR Doctor, then you receive a substantial membership discount and the HR Doctor receives one dollar for your membership. This is a relationship not for the purpose of making money for the HR Doctor, but for helping make colleagues aware of a valuable service. The dollar I get from your participation will be donated back to NACo to help with scholarships. 

People used to keep their money in mattresses or buried in the backyard, but the world has changed tremendously. We are very mobile. Valuables in the mattress are not secure at all, not even if you frequently change the digits on your “sleep number” bed.

Our most valuable personal protection information, like data about our own health, through a living will or health care surrogate designation is useless if Dr. Rachel can’t identify that information quickly in the morning. DocuBank can provide that access and provide another dose of peace of mind.

Be healthy and wear your seatbelts.

Phil Rosenberg

The HR Doctor •


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