When I’m home in the US, people sometimes ask me what I see changed. This time, it’s birthdays that have changed. Not birthdays themselves, but how they are used.

At the doctor’s clinic, the receptionist sometimes wants my birthday before my name. The lab tech asks my birthday before taking my blood. When I get a phone call from the doctor’s office about Dayle, they will accept my answer to their question if I can supply Dayle’s birthday. I have to give my birthday to pick up a prescription, and on it goes.

A birthday is no longer just a celebration; it’s also a verification mechanism in medical care.