Today I opened my inbox to see a mail from the Doctor whom I consulted yesterday. This was the same consultation report I did not get from him yesterday. At the end of the mail, I was asked to download the hospital app to stay connected with my Doctor. Welcome to the new world of digi-medicare:
I was struggling from a headache, cough and decreased smell over the past 10 days. I concluded that it was sinusitis because during my teenage days I used to have it constantly. So the day after the quarter end I decided to check out and get a cure. The first thing I did was to confirm those symptoms. So of course, I turned to Google! A couple of Khan Academy videos caught my attention. I went through two videos. One video explained medically the entire sinus area and the other video covered the symptoms and how you can cure. I took some notes as I thought I will validate once I meet the Doctor.
Equipped with this digital experience, my immediate choice was going to our go-to hospital because of proximity and past experience. I took out the number and checked them out. After several attempts, I got through. They had an appointment scheduled after 5.30PM. At that point in time, I was suffering from a heavy headache and I needed to see a doctor as soon as possible. Also, the way the call center person handled my requests and my experience was not pleasing.
Hence I checked with my wife about other choices. She suggested to check out the new hospital which was opened a year back. I checked out their website. It gave information about three Doctor’s in the ENT department. I was inclined to click on the bald-headed Doctor. I called their number. I got through immediately. A lady came on the line and she confirmed my appointment for 2.30 PM. I liked the way she was engaging with me and it was a good experience. She also told me to come 15 minutes earlier so that I can go through the registration formalities. By doing so, I would be ready for the appointment.
I drive in around 2.10 and get a parking space in the basement and I walk in to reach the registration desk. The lady asked me to swipe the screen and requested me to start putting all the details. Except for my wife’s mobile number for which I had to check my mobile, all other information was restored from my memory. Once I clicked the finish button I got an SMS with the registration number. She directed me to the first floor where I had to make the payment. I was worried about whether I will be late for the appointment. I made the payment and she was ready with the payment receipt. Since she was sitting a little far away she asked me, “Sir please pick up the folder from there and insert this sheet and go to room no 27.” I was there at the door on time and I walked in and sat there for examination.
The doctor barely glanced at me, turned to the large screen and asked me to explain. Before that, he clicked his google appointment and cleared it. Armed with sinus symptoms I shared all. His eye contact was fleeting as he turned to his computer and captured all the observations. Once he finished his examination he confirmed it is severe sinusitis and I was happy that my preparation was not a waste. Then he turned to his screen and did a drop down of all the medicines and I was out in 5 minutes. I actually like Doctors who talk a lot and they say half of your disease goes away after seeing and engaging with the Doctor. In this case, It was just the opposite.
I landed in the pharmacy only to notice how distracted the over the counter pharmacists was as the mobile phones were constantly ringing, they were also chatting on one side, they had to type and get information from the screen. In the process, they forgot to deliver a few medicines. I clearly noticed that since they were multitasking it must have missed their attention.
All through the experience the only “humane experience” and a “feel-good moment” was interaction with the lady over the phone. The rest of my interactions were robotic or as per the new lingo ” Digital medical” or “Digi Med” experience. “Life’s on” is the tagline of the hospital, every step before and after consultation I witnessed that we had to put up with devices. Be it for SMS for registration to Doctor’s health recorder software to my inbox with the report.
What-If I did not carry my phone?
What – if the power supply and back up had gone out?
What if I had not checked my mail?
All three of the above are hypothetical scenarios. My take is ” Life’s on ” meant everything will be on. So it is clear our devices need to be “on” as we enter this new digital healthcare world and this experience will “own your life”. The pills Dr. recommended had really helped me overcome my headache and I am feeling better. Emotionally the only question what I am pondering is how can we stay digital and have a R.I.C.H Connect keeping Life’s on.