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Intelligent Healthcare Information Integration 5/16/09

May 15, 2009 News No Comments

Ray Says, “It’s Not My Fault”

During my weekly channeling session with our local psychic (Palm Reading – $5.00), we received a surprise visit from none other than Mr. Big Mac himself, Ray Kroc. He had one main message that he asked me to pass along: “It’s not my fault.”

Curious as to the origin of his defensiveness, I prodded him for elaboration. Paraphrased here, Ray said, “The whole freakin’ world [he used ‘freakin’ a lot] has gone mad. Everyone wants what they want at the exact moment they want it. ‘News’ is now obtained in sound bites and 140-character ‘Tweets.’ Entertainment is always two ‘clicks’ away. Social skills are nurtured without any face-to-face society. Dinner is drive-thru or RadarRange [sic] ready. OK, maybe I did contribute to that last one, but, the point is, I’m freakin’ sick of everybody saying the current excessively fast-paced and shallow civilization is ‘a McDonalds World.’”

Curious, too, as to why he broke in on my séance with the good Doctor Theodor Geisel, I asked for a bit more. He said, “Healthcare is the last great bastion of common sense. Where else can you see such tremendous amounts of time and money spent on providing longwinded and often redundant information? Only healthcare, with its vast reach into every corner of humanity can possibly stop this freakin’ onslaught of the digitization demons. Only healthcare can restore sanity to a too fast world. I need you doctors to spread the word so people will stop blaming me and start remembering what it’s like to actually go slow, to experience deeper thoughts, to wait for what you want.”

Freakin’ honored by his mission bestowment, I couldn’t help feeling, though, somehow partly responsible for the problems Ray worried over. I have an EHR, and a smart phone, and a DVR, and a microwave, and have even digitized my children. I have used many a drive-thru and I’m LinkedIn and Facebooked and Twittered. I, too, can barely read emails past the “two sentence rule”.

But, as Ray spoke (through Madam Blavatsky,) I began to see his point. Healthcare, with its typical foresight, was actually the best place to restore some sanity to our too-fast-paced world. Where else, except maybe newspapers, do you see centuries-old technology still the primary tool? Ink and paper continue to rule the vast majority of healthcare and, with relatively minor exceptions, have shown the true value of grindingly slow communications, agonizing wait times, and almost limitless redundancy of information. If we get on it now, before this mad rush to techno-health really takes hold, we in healthcare services could actually stop the insanity and help restore Ray’s good name.

So, Mr. Kroc, here’s my first salvo for you: Healthcare peeps, let’s slow this world down. As leaders in this return to common sense, let’s keep our repetitive forms and impossibly illegible paper charts (and, of course, 3 X 5 cards.) Let’s sign off of Sermo, leave LinkedIn, face only real books, and Tweet ta-ta to technomania. EHRs? Forget ‘em. As vanguards of health, we medical folks need to stand firm in our resolve to turn back this maddening rush life has become and keep our noses firmly buried up our Luddistic derrieres.

Thanks, Ray.

Dr. Gregg Alexander is a grunt-in-the-trenches pediatrician and geek. His personal manifesto home page…er..blog…yeh, that’s it, his blog – and he – can be reached through http://madisonpediatric.com or doc@madisonpediatric.com.

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