Be your own secretary

As one attempt to balance between all increasing request for health services and all worsening economic situation, prioritization is increasingly discussed. Our hospital’s treatment ethics committee also organized a seminar on prioritization in health care. I was kind of amazed that the topic of discussion was totally built around high tech and very advanced, even experimental treatment options of very severe and/ or rare conditions. Of course it is known that the severe conditions require most of the health care resources. But would it not be easier to cut from offering publicly paid services, or at least specialized level care, for mild and common conditions? There is a wide grey zone of distress, inconvenience, suboptimal laboratory findings, not being perfect and having worries that increasingly become seen as illnesses requiring treatment that will be examined by x-ray, MRI and lab tests and treated conservatively and operatively, if a third party pays, but would certainly be accepted as imperfectness of life if services were to be paid out of the pocket.

Both in the hospital and in the university there is an all increasing pressure for effectiveness. Doctors should see more patients and academics write more research papers and teach more students. However, instead of arranging time for clinical and research work, these organizations are making sure that the experts use their time on being their own secretaries. Secretary work has for years now been seen as a suitable target of saving. Certainly the modern technologies can replace secretaries and the experts can handily do the secretary work by themselves with the help of the super practical software options. Not to mention that nobody is to expect service, did you think you were better than someone else? So, instead that a qualified secretary would manage the office work, doctors, psychologists, social workers, specialized nurses, professors and lecturers are fighting travel managers and managing patient appointments, reserving rooms, searching for envelopes, writing case histories and searching for postal addresses so that a letter indicating an appointment time can be sent to a patient. The society really wants to educate doctors to use time in finding postal addresses for people who did not show up when scheduled, so that a new appointment can be offered? There are dozens of tasks is hospitals and universities that are not the responsibility of anyone, so finally they are the task of the professors and the specialists. An eight hour workday of a specialized doctor includes more time in searching envelopes, making room reservations, making copies, waiting for software to open, rescheduling and typing than actually seeing patients.