Unreliable patients most likely to ask for SMS

by Hans on 2005/04/13

Here’s an article that may be of interest from the E-Health Insider website titled “Unreliable Patients Most Likely to ask for SMS Reminders“. While I tend to support the use of technology to help people, for some reason, this aritcle seems to rub me the wrong way. I think it’s the word “unreliable” – there’s just something about the connotations in the word that bothers me. It’s something related to an experience that I had yesterday.

I accompanied my sister as she had her wisdom teeth removed. Here are some of the things that bothered me:

  • We were asked to show up 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time. Originally, I thought there was paper-work to be completed or some pre-treatment assessment or something, but we just sat and waited. Is the health care professional’s time so important that everyone has to show up 30-60 minutes ahead of time?
  • The atmosphere in the office was very unwelcoming. I can’t really describe it, but somehow I felt like I was viewed as an idiot and not as a person. There was absolutely not sense of compassion in my interactions with the receptionist or the nurse. The questions were fast, and curt.
  • They only wanted the money. Before the procedure was over, I was asked to follow the nurse (I think it was a nurse) into the “back area”. She said that it was now time to “settle the account”. Apart from asking me about the financial arrangements, she didn’t make eye contact or say another word.

Okay, so how is this experience related to the SMS idea? Well, I suppose it’s the conceptual idea that people are being reduced to some sort of widget that is handled. In some sense, this phenomenon shouldn’t really surprise me because I do work in a hospital environment, and I get to see some of the pressures that health care professionals face on a daily basis – the emotional detachment is a means of coping with the stress and pressure. But, there just seems to be something wrong with this. I wonder if this mindset will become more persistant once we use technology more.

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