I used to be an author.
Every day I wrote two dozen or more short stories.
Some were comedies:
“The pain in the right knee started after a snowboarding accident in Aspen two months ago during a spring break trip with friends. He swears that a tree suddenly jumped into his path and evasive maneuvers failed.”
Some were tragedies:
“The patient states that she learned last night that her husband has had a two year long affair with a coworker. She would like STD testing and something to help her sleep for a few days.”
Now I am supposed to point and click predetermined text to generate my note. It comes out something like this:
“The episode started two months ago. Pain is in the right knee. It is worse with movement. It is better with nothing.”
Where is the patient in that? Gone.
Then it is followed by a long list of smart text that generates an office note so full of crap that it is impossible to get to the meat of things quickly. I routinely get 4 page notes from specialists. I read the first paragraph and then the last page to hopefully figure out what is going on. The rest is meaningless drivel that is tacked on for billing purposes. I scan through hundreds of pages of documents every day. You know how I can read so many blog posts so quickly? Years of practice…
We are losing our humanity.
Change the human body from a person to a machine.
Change the healthcare providers into automatons.
It is inevitable, isn’t it? Dehumanize the patient. Dehumanize the doctor. Dehumanize the nurses and medical assistants and other providers. Do it little bit by little bit. If you do it in one fell swoop, there will be rebellion. Whittle away at it in small bites so it is easy to swallow and then one day we will all look up in horror at what we have become but by then it will be too late.
Once you have done it to healthcare, do it to every other aspect of our lives.
Little bit by little bit.
I think, perhaps, it is already too late.
Homework assignment! Ask to read what your doctor writes about you next time you go in….