Sunday, 27 July 2014

Good Technology

Just before the weekend, I had occasion to visit the kindly family GP (fear not, twas nowt serious). It's been a while since I last went to the doctor's surgery. So long in fact, that it's now no longer actually known as a doctor's surgery, it's been upgraded to a Medical Centre. A whole heap of expensive work has been done refurbishing and improving the place, inside and out, since my last visit, including the installation of an intranet connecting the doctors and nurses with each other and putting the reception desk in instant contact with all the staff in the practice. It's all very impressive. While I was there I had to have separate tests with staff located in different parts of the building and there were no hurriedly scribbled notes to be handed over, garbled phone calls made or shouted instructions barked along corridors. A quick internal email or two from my doctor to the relevant colleagues was all that was required to make the necessary arrangements. My whole visit was hi-tec and seamless, at least until the very end, when a survivor from the 20th century put in an unexpected appearance.

Returning to my own doctor at the conclusion of my visit, she suggested that I needed one more little test, one that couldn't be done there at the Medical Centre, but would require a trip to the out-patients department of the nearest hospital, 20 miles away. Not a problem I thought, expecting her to swing back to her keyboard and tap in an email request for an appointment, but no. She told me that I'd be informed of my appointment later in the day, as she'd first have to...., wait for it...., fax my details over to the hospital. Fax! I guess it goes to show that, for all the millions spent upgrading and improving the infrastructure, technology and communications, if a tried and trusted system still works and ain't broke, why fix it?

Here's a tune by the Red Guitars, from a time when fax machines were the very cutting edge of 'Good Technology'.

8 comments:

C said...

Fax?! I didn't know they still made them - and where on earth do they get the paper?! Our surgery has changed a lot in recent years too and has one of those touch-screen registration things so you don't even have to speak to a receptionist. They're probably 'old news' by now but I was amazed!

C said...

PS - so sorry, I had also meant to add to that comment that I hope you're ok, and good luck with test results!

The Swede said...

Come to think of it, our Medical Centre has had a touch screen registration thing for quite a while too. I wonder what the receptionists actually do nowadays? Send faxes I guess.
Thanks for your good wishes C.

Erik Bartlam said...

I hope it's not serious my man.

I've had my fill of doctor's offices and examination rooms this year after the big man broke his arm.

We still have a fax machine where I work but, that's because the people I work for a irredeemably cheap...and it came with the printer 100 years ago. Ha

Good luck fella.

John Medd said...

I do actually know why they still use the fax TS: a while ago my niece-in-law(?) who is a GP had to personally step in to a Medd related medical matter. Before she spoke to the GP concerned she first sent him a fax, not an email, and then followed it up with a phone call. A doctor HAS to respond to a piece of paper that physically lands on his desk. He can't just blag, like you can with can email, that it never arrived or ended up in spam.

Suffice to say the Medd family member is 100% fighting fit and we owe it, in part, to the humble fax machine.

The Swede said...

Thanks for your good wishes Erik and thank you John for clearing that one up, a mystery solved.

Erik Bartlam said...

Very funny...yesterday I had to rush off to a hospital in Neshoba county (to sell some food...not find treatment). There was a couple hundred bucks in it for me but, the whole thing depended on my finding a fax machine at the hospital (to get the necessary paperwork back in time).

HA!

In the end the woman who set the appointment with me wasn't even working that day. WTF?

Old Pa's Corner said...

One thing about living in Spain which may surprise you is that they are completely automated and everything is online....you can check most things yourself re-appointment etc. Every department is all linked together...all very impressive