Doctor visits are so 2014

From Fast Company:

There is nothing worse than being sick—except, perhaps, having to go to the doctor when you’re sick. You know the drill: While tending to your drippy nose and hoping your scratchy voice is comprehensible, you call the clinic to schedule a doctor’s visit only to be put on hold for twenty minutes, then given an appointment for three weeks from now. As your fever rises, you decide to take matters into your own hands by dragging your weary self the emergency room, where you sit in the waiting room for hours before finally seeing someone who can help you. By the end of this ordeal, you’re pretty sure that visiting the doctor has made you even sicker than you were before.

If this story sounds familiar, it is because it is now the norm. Patients waste 1.2 billion hours each year in waiting rooms to see a doctor. A full 71% of emergency room visits in the United States should have been handled in primary care: this is a massive waste of resources, since an emergency visit costs around $580 more than a comparable visit to a doctor’s office, which adds up to $38 billion in unnecessary spending every year. But what’s a patient to do? Since it is often impossible to get a doctor’s appointment quickly enough, going to the emergency room seems like the only way to get immediate care or relief from pain.

The good news is that change is around the corner

The Case for Body Cameras: Good for Doctors – and Their Patients

From EP Monthly:

When faced with violent patients, the med-cam might offer the same benefits to medical staff as it does to the police. Nearly half of all emergency physicians (myself included) have been assaulted, and ER nurses are verbally abused and physically attacked so often that this violence has shamefully come to be seen as just another part of their job [7]. Informing these violent patients that their behavior is being recorded on a personal med-cam will de-escalate many confrontations, to the benefit of all the parties, and help to support the actions of staff when, as a last resort, physical or chemical restraints are needed.

Are we ready for this next step on the path towards the panopticon? The truth is, we have already taken it. For years now, cameras have recorded the behavior of staff (and patients) in ER trauma room, during newborn resuscitations9 and even in the colonoscopy suite [8,9]. And when asked, most patients support the ideas of having such recordings [10].