Why doctors shouldn’t call it the “waiting” room

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

At least once a year, my family heads out to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, about a half hour drive from our home here in Victoria. We spend a magical Saturday evening enjoying the summer gardens, a picnic supper on the lawn, live entertainment and especially the eye-popping summer fireworks extravaganza at dusk.  We are joined by approximately a zillion other visitors from around the globe, and the minute those last fireworks have fizzled, the zillions stand up and shuffle en masse to the vast parking lot to exit.

A little secret that our family has learned over the years, however, has saved us a lot of late night aggravation trying to get out of that tour bus-clogged  traffic jam – and it also confirms social scientists’ theory that Occupied Waiting Time feels far shorter than Unoccupied Waiting Time – a profound lesson for those of us who spend way too much time cooling our heels in doctors’ waiting rooms.  Continue reading “Why doctors shouldn’t call it the “waiting” room”

“Take two aspirins and Tweet me in the morning!”

You woke up feeling sick today. Your throat is scratchy, your head is imploding, and you just don’t think you can even leave your bed. You might have the flu. What do you do?

If you live in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, you stagger over to your computer and log in to your doctor’s office website at Hello Health to schedule an online Instant Messaging visit. Very soon, during that IM chat, your regular doctor asks some questions and confirms that it’s a virus. She tells you there’s nothing to worry about just yet, to drink plenty of fluids, and take Tylenol™ for the fever. Oh, and she’ll contact you tomorrow.

Feeling better now?  In the olden days before the Hello Health concept, the traditional time spent dragging your sorry flu-addled self out of bed and all the way downtown to your doctor’s office, including two aching and feverish hours spent shivering in the waiting room infecting other patients, would have been about four hours of your life that you’d never get back.

But time spent with your Hello Health doctor’s visit?  Less than one hour, without even brushing your teeth, changing out of your sweaty jammies, or leaving home. 

Indeed, across our health care system, from large hospital networks to patient support groups, new media tools like blogs, IM platforms, video chat, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook are re-engineering the way doctors and patients interact.   Continue reading ““Take two aspirins and Tweet me in the morning!””