Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Appointment

At no time in our history has communication been easier. Cell phones, texting, email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype.....and on and on. It seems to me that my purse is always ringing, and at home I may have two phones demanding my attention at the same time.   Communication...non stop communication.

While most of us generally appreciate the contact with family, friends and acquaintances there is another communication that has taken an ugly turn, and that is with your health professionals. Oh how I miss the days when I made an appointment and never heard another word till I walked through the door of the office.

Today in the world of medical and dental care time is king. It seems we are allotted less and less time with our professionals, more and more time with surrogates. Nurse practitioners, dental hygienists and medical assistants fill the void that now exists as the doctor or dentist moves through his day of fifteen minute appointments at the pace of someone walking a five K with a storm blowing in. Because of this time compressed workday everyone associated with the practice shudders to think you might forget your appointment. This is where the desire for a non-stop system of “communication” comes from.

Last month I had an appointment with my nameless professional, a standing six month check up that has become routine...at least for me. I've grown accustomed to the day before reminder; I've always appreciated that. Unfortunately my health care provider seems to have been introduced to some cutting edge technology, and the whole thing has changed.

Two weeks before my scheduled appointment I received a “robo-call” instructing me to push 2 if I planned to keep my upcoming appointment. I pushed “2”, and went on with my life.

The next day I received an email telling me to respond if I planned to keep my scheduled appointment. I ignored this because I had just informed the nice robotic voice yesterday of my commitment by pressing 2.

Three days later I received the same email. I responded “yes” this time since ignoring the last one only got me more email.

Now we are in the week of my scheduled appointment and the whole system steps it up a notch. I received yet another canned phone call telling me if I needed to reschedule my appointment to please do it now. The auto caller went on to explain the financial penalties for missing an appointment without 24 hours notice. Feeling as if I had just been subjected to the Vulcan mind meld, I decided 24 hours notice was probably unnecessary. This system seemed to be tracking their patients with everything except ankle bracelet monitors, so I'm pretty sure they could fill my empty fifteen minutes in record time. Anyway, since I had already tried to reassure everyone by phone (please press 2) and by email (please respond in the positive) that I DO plan to make the appointment and did NOT need to reschedule, I reluctantly hung up on the robot.

Next day I get another email....which I also ignored.

Not to be outdone, the day before my actual appointment I get a reminder call from a real person. I assured the nice young lady that I really, really planned to be at my appointment the next day. I also told her that they could call off the robots, shut down the email blasts, and call back any drones they may have sent out searching for me. I would be there. I hung up convinced there are people being stalked who hear from their tormentors less frequently than some poor schmuck with a medical appointment.

I guess technology has taken over every corner of our society, however I personally I think this intensive system of “reminding” needs to be reserved for husbands who forget anniversaries and deadbeats who owe you money.

Press 2 if you agree with me......

                                                         Life is Good