Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Healthcare and Technology: Helping Or Harming?

Technology is everywhere, in our cell phones, our computers, our tablets, its making its way into every part of our lives. But, in this day and technology really a help to us all, or is it harming the relationships that we have with our doctors?

If your doctor is "up to date" on the latest medical technologies, you'll have likely noticed the changes somewhere along the line. Perhaps its something small like them moving to a new computer system, or them digitizing all of their files. Perhaps its a more noticeable change like your doctor toting around a small tablet-like computer all the time, writing down your every word. In the worst cases though, sometimes, your doctors won't even look up at you from their computer/tablet. This recently happened to me. Most of you will remember my "A Mother's Intuition" post from earlier this week. This is a similar, but different story. 

Technology is wonderful, and it has most definitely saved its fair share of lives. But what about the relationships that we have with our healthcare providers? These relationships are being marred by technology, and face to face interaction has fallen by the wayside in favor of computers and tablets. These days, even our prescriptions are sent over to our pharmacies electronically.

But it gets to be a little too much when doctors decide to not even look up at their patients. Its bad when our healthcare professionals cannot even take a few moments away from their "tablets" to interact with us. I felt pretty rundown, sore throat, whole deal after the debacle with Syrus last week. So I went to see my primary care doctor. He literally bought his tablet in. Looked at me once, only looked in my ears, nose and throat. But as for my chesty cough, which was my main complaint? He literally just kind of tapped his stethoscope once to my chest. 

Well, fast forward to Saturday night and I couldn't breathe, I literally couldn't catch my breath. My family called the ambulance. Turns out, guess who else has pneumonia? Mommy does! Literally the same strain Syrus had. I guess he just had to share with mommy. I saw a different doctor in the same office on Monday as a follow up. After a Prednisone shot and two treatments, I still felt tight, so it was back to the ER, where they ended up keeping me because it had spread to the left lung. 

But back to the point at hand, I really do not think it is that much to ask of a doctor to put down the technology for a minute. If you really need to, get an intern or an assistant to scribe for you while you examine your patients. If my doctor had caught it earlier, I wouldn't have ended up in the hospital, where I also learned the joys of Heparin shots to the stomach *shudders.* I am home now, but still sick. I go back in 2-3 days, where I hope that this time my doctor examines me just a little better than last time. I want to get off all of these crazy medications they have me on all of a sudden.

 I don't think that it is. I'm not saying throw all of that technology out the window, but it would be nice to actually be treated like a human being by my doctor instead of just another patient, another number waltzing through their office. It would be great to be seen as more than a dollar sign.

Everyone is different, meaning every body is different, we are all not the same, nor would we want to be. That is especially true when it comes to our healthcare. We all have different issues going on in our bodies, and it is important to have a doctor or healthcare professional that will sit down and address each and every concern that we have. We know our bodies best, they are ours after all. So why is it so much to ask for doctors to put down the computer for a moment and talk to us?

Update on Syrus: He is doing much better, back to his old little self. Guess they bounce back quicker than us grown-ups, huh?

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