Take Me Somewhere Else
This is the year 2014 (in case you didn’t know) where technology and robots were supposed to be taking over the world, according to movies I’ve watched growing up. I’m supposed to be able to fly my Hovercraft to work and back, and I’m supposed to replicate any meal I desire in the blink of an eye before I head off to Saturn for my weekend vacation.
Sadly, we’re not even close to doing any of that. It’s been 50 years since we’ve wandered the surface of our own moon.
Today, however, I saw a little breakthrough in the world of technology. It’s so small, yet HUGE for those of us who dread going to the doctor’s office.
Imagine not having to get up early to drive across town only to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for an hour while you wait for your appointment that was supposed to be 45 minutes ago. Or how about when you finally get into an examining room, not having to sit on the papered-down gurney while your patience is tested in the ice cold room looking at the over-reproduced art on the wall. After 20 minutes of abandonment in the 10 x 10 room, your doctor pops in to rush you through his day like a lab rat, and after waiting well over an hour, you’re pushed through – with a prescription in hand – to the lady behind the counter to empty out your wallet or checking account. Feel better?
The fine folks at Google want to change that experience. The team of innovative leaders, and the Mayors of Failsville (remember Google Lively, Google Answers, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Notebook, Buzz, SideWiki, and Wave?) are trying to boost their Google+ popular video chat system, Hangout, with professionals who will video chat with you when you call them up. The service is called “Helpouts by Google“, where you can call a professional plumber, bicycle repair technician, computer whiz, artist, chef, musician…whoever you can find in their categories…and pay for their instructional services. They chat with you via your selected device (smart phone, tablet, computer) to assist you in whatever you want to know with fees from free to $60 an hour for their services.
Well why can’t we do this with our physicians? Doctor’s offices, and examination rooms, already have computers. I’ve seen them! I’ve looked on the computer at my diagnoses (diagnosi?), so why not just slap a video camera on those things and video chat with me instead of making me come to the office? This would save gas, time, money, my getting sick from those other people sneezing and coughing in the waiting room, and I can do it from the comfort of my own home where it’s not as cold as an iceberg in the Antarctic. I wait for the doctor to come online, we chat a few minutes about what is ailing me and his intentions on fixing the problem. His staff can call in my prescription to my pharmacy from their offices, we say our thanks and our goodbyes, and then I can instantly reach for my vodka I have just to the left of my monitor out of the site of the camera. Easy sleazy, I feel queasy.
Well, it seems that the team at Google have been reading my mind. I just saw a story on The Verge about how they’re testing out the doctor/patient video chat system over on the Helpouts. Let’s hope this all works out. I’d like to have my doctor visits a little less stressful before I even get to see the doctor. I KNOW my blood pressure is a little high because of the crap I had to go through before they took my pressure. I was doing fine before the appointment. Yes, a video chat with my Primary Care Physician, or Cardiologist would be just what the doctor ordered. Let’s do this!
By the way, Google people, there’s already an app for this. Can we do it through Helpouts now? Huh? Can we?