I recently had the honour of being invited to be the guest lecturer at a university class of young students learning about chronic illness. (The word “young”, of course, is relative, since almost everybody on earth is now so much younger than I am). These students were absolutely terrific – enthusiastic, smart, full of questions and ideas about healthcare. But about halfway through our 3-hour class together, I began to observe a pattern in the way some of them approached their small group exercise assignment. Continue reading “A solution in search of a problem”
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!””