Digital frustration

A planned participation through digital connections failed again. I am so frustrated to live in the middle of the hype that Finnish health care will go all digital and a number of problems will disappear and everybody get more services and be happier with less expenses when only we start to use information and communication technologies for consultation and treatment – and at the same time, all attempts to participate in meetings through Skype, Lync, other programs and video conference always fail. I have been to numerous meetings where somebody desperately tries to join through those means, a pressured technician is sweating to make the connection work, and finally a telephone call is taken and mobile phone placed in the middle of the table to connect the miserable committee member who wanted to save time and money by not travelling from northern Finland…. Or attended lectures that different groups attend via video conference, and then due to reasons unknown to all, none of the distant attenders can see the slides, or they see the slides but don’t hear the speaker, or only they can see but those who are in the same room with the speaker cannot… Not even in meetings in the Ministry of Health and Welfare does the technology ever work – how can they keep spreading this hype?

In the University of course, a further problem is that all the research staff is expected to manage things like digital connections by themselves, because there is no assistance (then, when you cannot use the systems and the meeting already fails, on call technical support may arrive, but not in advance); and in our hospital, we do not get technical assistance to psychiatric units, because we are not located in the main campus. Assistance with technologies and secretary work are too expensive, but numerous hours of professors’ and other teachers’ or clinical experts’ time is of course cheap.

Fortunately we still teach face to face, and I had a really good group to tutor in Prevention past four weeks. It was such a pleasure to follow those brilliant young people’s studying! This was a course in the problem-based medical curriculum in our university, included in the third years’ program. I was indeed delighted to work with them. Meeting them was such a pleasure that I hardly noticed how awful it is to look for a parking place in the central hospital & medical faculty campus, and I dare say that’s a lot…

Another inspiring task is to participate in creating the national guidelines for treatment of conduct disorder. It is a lot of work but also a great opportunity to really learn what is the state of knowledge, because the method that is used in this work indeed forces to be critical. In a way it is also depressing. In addition to learning that treatment-as-usual is a good treatment (see Treatment as Usual) I have now created a generic summary of a meta-analysis of any psychosocial intervention:

“XX et al. conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate whether [whatever psychosocial intervention] outperforms other interventions and treatment-as-usual in managing [whatever psychosocial problem]. They searched all the existing databases in all languages and contacted all the authors who had ever worked with or published anything related to [the intervention] or [the problem] and identified a million publications and manuscripts. Based on titles, 900 000 were rejected, and of 100 000, abstracts were read. Based on abstracts, 99 900 were excluded, and of 100, full texts were obtained. Of these, 10 fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. All possible statistical tricks were done, and as a result they stated that there is inadequate evidence to judge whether or not [the intervention] outperforms other interventions or not in the treatment of the target problem. XX et al. conclude that more high quality RCT studies with big samples are needed.”

Feel free to use this summary in your work!