Under construction

Surviving Healthcare

I think the first time I grasped the size of the internet I was tracking the path of social media posts using Netlytic.  When I saw the connections visually depicted it appeared to me like little individual flames all over the globe (people) connected by a single tweet or post. 

It was like looking at all the souls using social media at once and it was beautiful, terrifying and awe inspiring.

Netlytic message path

We are living during a period of human communication evolution. We as a species long to connect. Social media and the internet have provided us with more connections than our parents could ever have conceived of. We will not give that up easily. We will not be told to throttle it down easily.

When have humans ever been able to collectively control their impulses? The internet is consuming everything it encounters: News media, telephones, cameras, shopping, education, sex and dating, medicine, publishing, music… One of our greatest world problems is equity in internet access – to the point where drones and balloons are being used to provide access in remote areas of the planet.

Kenyan internet balloon

Humanity is likely incapable and unwilling to slow the growth of internet usage. Websites will continue to be made and used and will consume our resources for the foreseeable future. This can be turned to a positive thing if we can use this obsession with connectivity to develop sustainable usage of computers and the internet.

As I construct my first website the questions I am asking myself are, does what I have to say add value to all the information currently available to my potential audience? Is what I have to say worth the emissions and resources accessing it will consume? Can I keep people who use my site safe? Am I brave enough and honest enough to present multiple sides to the topics and issues I will discuss? Am I smart enough to navigate the hypersensitive world we live in?

With 350,000 tweets being sent in the last minute the question of if what I have to say is worth the resources used is a valid one. I used a tool to assess the current impact of my very new website and was relieved to see how small my impact is in the grand scheme of things – at the moment. I plan to schedule regular reviews of my environmental impact and the environmental impact of sites I frequently visit.

I really believe that people will not limit their access to the internet voluntarily and that it is our duty to be responsible consumers and producers of content that consumes so many resources.

So my plan is to make what I say count and to be a site that can provide the specific information needed to be an informed consumer of healthcare. I plan to provide patients and their families with information that can be lifesaving and will reduce frustration.

Such as:

·        Healthcare Proxy forms and information

·        Release of information requests

·        Templates for medication lists and allergies

·        Information on how to request a second opinion

·        Patient rights, specifically:

o Against Medical Advice discharges

o     Psychiatric admissions

o    What competency means and how it is determined

·        Infection avoidance

·        Managing visitors

·        Lost belongings

·        Interpreter services

·        Coping with communication barriers like being hard of
hearing or low vision

I also plan to say what needs to be said frankly and honestly. It is the frankness of what I am going to say that I think will add the most value to my site – and justify to some extent the resources it consumes.

Licensed medical professionals have to protect themselves to some extent from their patients. That is frank. OBGYN are fleeing the profession due to litigation. Nurses are being injured at unheard of rates by their patients and their patient’s family members. These facts are not being openly discussed with patients. The emotional gentleman that has never spent a night away from his wife of 47 years does not know the very real fear her nurses are experiencing when he raises his voice when asked to leave. He doesn’t know because people are afraid to tell him.

My goal is to prepare people for what to expect as a patient. To provide them with a behind the scene look at why their nurses and doctors do what they do. Ultimately, I also want to help healthcare professionals to communicate more clearly and with less anxiety to those they serve.

Bad things happen when patients and their providers cannot talk to each other. The most basic communication model says all of our messages pass through noise.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Models_of_communication

In healthcare, the noise is pain, fear, past experiences, time-pressure, exhaustion, inexperience, frustration and on and on. The noise is deafening. Add to this language barriers, socioeconomic challenges, bias, the fear of physical death and the fear of professional destruction. You are left with people that cannot understand each other while being desperately motivated to communicate well.

My plan in constructing my website is to quiet the noise. To show patients and providers what is causing the static and provide them warning signs that will alert them to the communication veering from the desired path.

Doctors, nurses, physical therapists – all licensed providers are hesitant to be frank for good reason. They want to provide good care and they don’t have time to argue. They do not want complaints to their boss, to their board, or to their licensing entity. This ties their hands and their tongues.

Patients don’t want to look dumb. They also don’t want to know if the news is really bad. Barrier upon barrier. Every day I tell a nurse or doctor, “it is the scared dog that bites you”. Patients are not the problem. Their fear and our poor communication skills are the problem.

Collectively patients and providers have to reach an accord to successfully treat diseases. We cannot return to the days of what the doctor said being believed and followed unquestioningly. We also cannot have patients relying on google to tell them what their doctor should do. Something has to be done and someone has to point out the elephant in the room. Doctors and patients are often speaking different languages. People like myself spend their time translating. What would be simpler and safer is to provide patients and providers with a shared language and the resources they need to get past the noise. So watch this site for ideas about how we can do this together.

References:

Kettle, J. (2023, February 16). The internet consumes extraordinary amounts of energy. here’s how we can make it more sustainable. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-internet-consumes-extraordinary-amounts-of-energy-heres-how-we-can-make-it-more-sustainable-160639

Kirton, C. A. (n.d.). The silent epidemic of workplace violence : Ajn the American Journal of Nursing. LWW. https://journals.lww.com/ajnonline/Fulltext/2023/02000/The_Silent_Epidemic_of_Workplace_Violence.1.aspx

Rising malpractice insurance premiums prompt OB/GYNS to leave field. California Healthline. (2002, May 6). https://californiahealthline.org/morning-breakout/rising-malpractice-insurance-premiums-prompt-obgyns-to-leave-field/

Website carbon Calculator V3: What’s your site’s carbon footprint? Website Carbon Calculator. (2023, June 5). https://www.websitecarbon.com/

 

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