This past week as I called my patients to do office visits either by telephone or video, I was so struck by the gratitude they express. One patient thanked me for being concerned about him and calling. They think these visits are special especial in this trying time. I want to say, “I am just doing my job, no need to thank me,” but I don’t. I am frustrated about the technical difficulties that occur when they can’t download the program for a video visit. They apologize, but I want to say, it is not your fault, it is ours. We’ve allowed this technology divide to prevent many from being able to benefit from this technology. We should have moved ahead with these platforms, and when people came to the office, we should make sure they all have smartphones and have our Apps downloaded. We needed the Tech team to meet each patient at the door, but we didn’t, and we failed our seniors. They are the ones we could have helped more. Why do they always have to come to our office? They would benefit from these video visits. Imagine a virtual picture of their home and to make sure they are safe.
I really don’t need a pat on the back for just doing my job. Doing it well was what my grandmother always instilled in us. You must be “ten times better to get 1/10 of the recognition”. We failed our patients when we didn’t help them embrace technology and health. We failed when we didn’t ensure that being healthy meant having a smartphone or a way to connect to their doctors. Also, we allowed many of their grandchildren to be in schools that now can’t provide them with Ipads or laptops at home to do their homework. These wired kids could have passed on their knowledge to their grandparents.
I completed the phone visit with one of my seniors, and she said, “I will be so glad when this is over so I can see you. Please take care of yourself.” I wished I was there to set up her phone so I could see her face.
America should not be lulled into patting someone on the back when all they are doing is the job they are supposed to do. Unfortunately, it was delayed because of politics, failure to listen to experts, and arrogance. Now, hold us responsible for making sure going forward; we are forward-thinking, innovative, and compassionate. We need to make sure that insurance companies do their job and help their patients. We need to make sure all Americans have health insurance, and they have access to health care that is responsive to their needs.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. Scott Peck