Saturday, November 14, 2015

Computer Specialist Meets Medical Specialist

I have always been curious how the medical profession works.  Let me give you an example that illustrates my issue.

I was a computer technician for 20+ years, and in that twenty some odd years I have done work for doctors and other medical professionals, plus for hospitals et al.  Here's my thoughts on how that work applies.

Let us say that a doctor calls me because his computer is not working.  Now right off the bat he wants me to somehow fix it over the phone, and of course I can not do that, because the doctor knows nothing really about computers, so I can not even walk him through it, and besides he doesn't want that, he just want's his computer fixed.  That is the patient then, and it is very much the same.

So I set an appointment.  Now the doctor is certain he is the most important client I have, so there is no reason I can not come right out there immediately to fix his computer, lives are at stake here if he can not look up things on WebMD.  Unfortunately I can not just drop everything and run out there, so he has to accept my appointment for Tuesday at 9:30.

So when Tuesday arrives, I show up at 9:30, but I sit in my truck for the next half hour talking on the phone.  Now he doesn't know who I am talking to, but he is certainly going to find out, because he is a busy man, and I will not keep him waiting while I discuss other clients issues.  So he comes out to my truck, and knocks on the window.

"I will be with you in just a few minutes, if you could just wait inside that would be swell"  I tell him, and he goes away looking like I just scolded him.  Still there are a few other calls, and there is paperwork to fill out, and I have to sign into the network operations center (noc) before I can even go onto the site.

So I get that done and it is almost 10:00, and by this time I am sure the doctor is furious.  So I go to the office, and I tell him he has to fill out this paperwork for me to begin work on his computer.  After he has done that I say I am sorry for all the delay, there is just such a backload of people who need help, and the paperwork is terrible, or something to that effect.

Now I say, "What is wrong with the computer?"

He says, "I have no idea, that is why I called you, it is not working."

"Okay, does it start, or not start, does it make any tones when you try to turn it on, did you try to access the safe mode?" I ask.

"No, I do not know how to do that, that is why I called you, do you know what is wrong with it?"  he ask getting frustrated with my line of questioning.

"Okay let me start from the beginning then, let's see if it is plugged in."  I say.

"Of course it is plugged in, don't you think I would know if it was plugged in."  he says now expressing his frustration.

"Of course you would, but this way I can be sure I checked it myself, just going down the check list of obvious things, that are sometimes overlooked, simply procedure that is all."  I tell him to reassure him that this is how "us" computer guys work.

After some time fiddling about with the obvious stuff, I get around to trying to turn it on, and well it does turn on, it gets to start up and goes blue screen.  "Hmm," I say.  Now a good 1/2 hour has gone by and we still do not know what is wrong with his computer.

"What do you think is wrong with it?" he ask.

"Well I have a couple of ideas, but I not certain, could be a couple of different things."  I say.

"Can you fix it?" he ask.

"Sure, should not be a problem."  I say.

"Oh good how much longer then?" he ask.

"Don't know really, tell you what, it looks like a software issue, so what I am going to do is schedule an appointment with a software analyst to look at it, and he will get back to me and I will set an appointment then to come back out and see if we can get to the root of the problem."  I say.

And this is where all the color rises up into his face and he gets ready to fly off the handle.  Think about it though, is this not what they do in their profession.  Now sure the human machine is a complex machine, and they have insurance issues to deal with, but so don't I.  I have to make sure nothing gets broken, or no one gets hurt, and that I do not make an error, or I could end up with an errors and omissions claim against me.  So sure you can just buy a new computer and this is not exactly a great example, but it does point to some serious issues within the medical industry.  That and it is just sometimes what I would love to do to a doctor, if I had to fix their computer again.

It is funny, but it is not.  There are some fundamental issues within the medical industry, and until these are fixed, it is only going to get worse.