Doctoring Health Care

When in Rome…

In the quiet of the exam room, the patient’s cell phone obnoxiously chimes to life.

“Hold on a minute Doc, I’ve been expecting this text.”

You think, but dare not say, “you are kidding me, right?”

This scenario is just one of technology’s canker sores.

Undoubtedly, the new world of always-on communication has irreversibly redefined the rules of human interaction–for the worse many have argued. The actual person-to-person phone call has become so yesterday.  This is not a judgement, just a matter of factuality.

The young of years get this. They have never known a TV with knobs or a rotary phone. While the middle-aged click with trepidation, and the aged do not click at all, the young click away fearlessly.  It is their medium. Texting a youngster seems to bring out their inner sweetness.  It is their language.

Like me, many of peers in the medical world are equally enamored with this new communication realm.

And so it was recently when I tip-toed into the new world of “e-communication.” It was a risk.

Call me old-school if you will, but I still like to communicate with referring doctors.  Not just because it is right and respectful to do so, but it would be disingenuous to deny the tacit component of bragging.  “This curing with burning thing is so nifty, others would surely want to know,” is how most electrophysiologists roll.

The old way to communicate was to pull a busy referring doctor out of a room and speak over the phone.

A new way–that occurred to me spontaneously in a eureka-like moment–is to snap a photo of a photo, and send it along with the text message:  “Mr ***** had a successful ablation.”

Termination of tachycardia is still so sweet!

Is the referring doctor taken aback by this new form of peer-to-peer communication?  You be the judge from his text message response…

“BEAUTIFUL! Not sure which of us is the sicker: you for sending that image, or me for enlarging it and looking closely at it.”

Not all that beeps and interrupts is rude and impersonal.

It is a new world.  Might as well join in.

Huge grin!


One reply on “When in Rome…”

Actually, in context, the picture message is more respectful. It allows the physician the opportunity to take the message on his terms. I turn my phone to silence when I'm in an appointment, but have had doctors take calls during my appointment. I know they are taking care of people much sicker than I am, but it breaks the attention of the visit.

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