Monday, 13 February 2012

What's next?

Interesting story in the Toronto Star. Seems that some bright inventor decided to apply restaurant technology to hospital clinics and ER waiting rooms. So, (wait for it) here is the amazing way forward! 

Yes, you guessed it – beepers. Mrs. Jones, your table, er… guernsey is waiting. Please slip on this johnny gown with the gap at your backside and wait behind this curtain. Your health provider will be here sometime before H-ll freezes over. Actually, if you happen to be a patient with a mental health crisis it could take much longer than that.

If I had a dollar for every hour that a patient with a mental health crisis had to wait to be seen by the emergency physician in many of the hospitals that I have known, I could have retired a wealthy man. Why is it that people who have a mental disorder end up at the back of the line? Surely it can not be because of stigma in health providers? Surely it can not be because of inefficient care pathways? Surely it can not be because of inadequate numbers of mental health providers?

Maybe it is all of the above. In that case, you can hand out as many beepers as you want and nothing will happen. Mrs. Jones, your bed is ready for you. Sorry it took seventeen hours to get you there. If only you had a broken leg instead of a depressive psychosis accompanied by severe suicidal ideation we could have done a bit better. And your beeper? Please put it in that box over there. Mr. Watson will be needing it next. We only have one available for psychiatric patients and he has already been here six hours.


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