Telehealth, Critical Issues

When the idea to have nurses available via phone to absorb a lot of the excess waiting in waiting rooms and answer questions and provide info came to, I could not have been a greater supporter.

Most visits to clinics and emergencies rooms start with 5 hours of waiting then a rushed 15 second conversation where you never feel anything’s been addressed and some process is rapidly put in place for what amounts to one of the possible problems on tap and thats that, 5 hours wait 15 seconds of fame and you’re back out the door, maybe with an appointment for testing one possibility or a prescription for something general.

If one has a concern thats at all complicated and worrisome, killing the better part of a day for 15 frustrating seconds is pretty much unbearable. If you could phone someone specifically ready for such calls and ask the various questions in the much better timespace that the phone situation entails, you would nearly always advance at least as far as with the clinic/emergency visit. For instance you could surely advance to arranging an appointment to get something checked and tested. The clinic/emergency visits really seem to have become something that just isn’t worth its salt anymore. I have never had a satisfying or useful one in Toronto. When I had a bad knee I spent most of a sunday exposed to infectious diseases at st mikes then was offered pain killers, when what I needed was a functional knee! I wound up finding effective help outside the system for that one, no pain killers at all. Other instances have either been just non-events or genuinely upsetting. But truly, it’s never been useful to me.

So when telehealth came into being I rejoiced at the chance to have a better than conversation than 15 seconds where one feels frantic to try to communicate everything accurately and understandably in such haste, where instead I could ask the questions.

However telehealth too has developed a hook in my mind. There was still this attempt to prevent me just asking my question, instead the telehealth professional wanting to take control of the conversation, and first establish all sorts of things, some purely bureaucratic, seemingly mining me for the building of the database.

I don’t want to help build anyone’s database. We pay all these taxes for health care and I would just like to be able to proceed to asking the questions. I certainly don’t call with prior commitment, precommitment to any course of action, to any way at all of picking through my options. And I don’t feel commitment with some obscure book on me being kept for the database of what miscellany comes up in the conversation. I would just want to be able to ask the questions and then think. Options, modes of dealing with things, adjustments to lifestyles, timings of dealing with things, considering how anything plays with other dimensions of life, family, personal situation and finances.

There’s all this bureaucratic gaitway to acquiring antibiotics or using an exray machine. So much politics to database building, too much wear and tear on a given person’s identity viz all future use of the system, it can seem more like being tracked than helped.

In fact, there’s a prevalent sense that you give up human agency and free will and the ability to define yourself in the future, when it will be that much more necessary to try to for once communicate effectively in the very speedy professional environment with people who are usually on their own trip with their issues at that moment.

It may not sound like it but I am indeed entirely trying to be helpful, waste as little time as possible, speed the professional on their way to other matters, and just need to ask a question or two to be able to know how to proceed myself. Not interested in database whatsoever, and yes, I drink guinness and smoke and don’t need a trillion dollar health care system to say wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t.

Just let people ask the questions they want to, and answer however you wish. If it’s too bureaucratically political to give a real answer fine, I’ll continue on my quest for info otherwise. And thats all. I know how stressed the system is and don’t want to waste its time any more than my own. Not looking for a lot of explanation of bureaucratic function or to build myself a profile in your database.

If it’s just flat out impossible to get answers out of the health care system, and only possible to have rushed cluttered inaccurate conversations about fragmentary misinterpretations of things while padding it all with bureaucratic formulization, I’d have to look elsewhere.


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