There is so much talk these days about what the future of healthcare will look like and what that means for the design and construction industry. As much as I read, talk to industry experts and participate in educational seminars, my real life experience as a patient is very limited. Until this week I have only had experiences with wellness visits and the occasional sick visit for a cold or flu. However, that all changed when I woke up in the middle of the night with an excruciating pain in my upper back and difficulty breathing.
At first I was very scared and nearly went to the ER, but as I became more awake I realized the breathing issue was more a result of pain related to moving my upper body. So I waited until morning, called my doctor and made an appointment for noon. Once I arrived, I was taken into the exam room by the physician’s assistant who confirmed and recorded my information and symptoms on a tablet computer. He had access to all my history and was quickly able to confirm things with me. He took some vitals and then left me to wait. Within 10 minutes, my doctor was in the room for the exam and asked me a lot of questions (all different than the PA). It was pretty clear I had strained or pulled something. Small possibility of a fracture in my rib so she wanted an x-ray. While she was electronically sending two prescriptions to the local pharmacy and writing an order for an x-ray, I am thinking there goes my afternoon as I will have to go to the local hospital 20 minutes away. Instead she tells me there is a health center 5 minutes down the road and if I go now she may get results by the end of the day.
I drive to the clinic and as I walk in the front door I see signs for testing, wound care, radiology and other services. I pick up my phone to email my office, (because I assume this is going to take a while), and am turning my phone off. I go into radiology, sign in and wait maybe 10 minutes. I am then called up to be registered because I have never been to this clinic or the local hospital. She has most of my information on the sheet from the doctor’s office but asks a few more questions. I go back to my chair for about 5 minutes and then I am called into the radiology suite. They take the images and ask me to wait to make sure they are ok. All is well and I am on my way. When I get back in my car and turn my phone on there is a text message from my local pharmacy telling me my prescription is available for pick-up.
I stop to get my prescription on the way home and walk in the door almost 3 hours to the minute from when I left. I figured my entire afternoon was going to be lost especially when she said “x-rays” and yet here I was back home relatively quickly with at least a course of treatment. I didn’t get my x-ray results by the end of the day but I was able to check the patient portal to see if they were in.
What did this experience teach me? Well that technology really is enhancing patient care and enabling things to work much faster and efficiently. And also that perhaps in some places the future of healthcare is now. You may imagine that I got this expedient level of care in some major metropolitan area but I live in a small town on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. You can’t even get pizza delivered in the middle of the day. Our post office closes for lunch every day. And yet all the things we talk about at the Symposium that are changing healthcare delivery in this country, I got to experience firsthand.
At the Symposium we have sessions that talk about how technology is and can change patient care and we have case studies on health centers and clinics that are treating patients closer to their homes. I invite you to come to Chicago this fall and hear all about this and more. As a subscriber to the Leaflet you can get a 20% discount if you register by August 26th and use VIP code leaflet20.
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo
PS Have a thought about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.