Doctor, Doctor. I’m out of disk space.

In the last month I have seen more doctors than I have in the last ten years. I’m OK, but I happened to be around  lots hospitals and doctors.

I usually see my own family doctor once a year, to get the approval for my fitness room. I don’t like being sick (who does?), and luckily for me I rarely do.

Big disclaimer before I begin. My knowledge in medicine and biology is as poor as my familiarity with  Western-Bavarian sausages. Maybe even poorer. Take my insights with a huge grain of salt. Feel free to correct and add.

  • It’s really hard to be a doctor. How do they remember all the facts and patients after 24 hours of running around? And the impact for any decision is critical.
  • Doctors don’t think of us as “customers” even when they charge 900 NIS per hour. While even repairmen have started respecting their customers time, the medicine men have a different set of priorities.
  • Some areas of medicine seem extremely primitive from a software perspective.  Imagine a $30,000 EEG device running on Windows XP with a big “Out of disk space” warning . When I asked why, the team  said the nurse has to clean the drive by copying video files to CD’s. The main nurse is in vacation and the secondary nurse does not work on  Sabbath.  Can’t they get one terabyte drive on eBay?
  • Many of the patients records are still kept on a white sheet of paper next to the patients bed. And yellow stickers are used for important messages. why can’t it all be entered in a normal information system ? Less mistakes, better supervision, doctors can see the status from home, global experts can help etc. It’s a pretty straight forward IT system. Not a simple one, but common.

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  • Seems like the brain is pretty much a mystery.  EEG analysis of the brain examines secondary variables and almost feels as palm reading. Is it because the basic data is bad, or better algorithms are needed ?
  • When one goes to dentists (private in Israel)  the treatment is much better. They keep time, they explain the options, they give you your records. I’m not sure why this is the case. Maybe because they don’t get bad habits from public hospitals. Or maybe because they face more competition.
  • The doctors still don’t get the customers’ right for full information and the internet-aware-patient. Even when the law forces them to notify the patient of all the options and risks. A common reaction would be to make the customer sign a paper ,just like he would in the bank (the one nobody reads).
  • On a positive note, I have much more respect for nurses. Their role is much harder than I imagined and their dedication and knowledge are highly impressive.

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