Digital Diagnostics

So we get this free complete health check up from our company. Turns out that you have a host of options to pick the Hospital or Diagnostic Centre of your choice. For this one, I choose Wockhardt Hospital (Bangalore).

If I run back a year, I see myself sitting in Wockhardt Hospital (same place around the same time of the month), getting a similar health check up done. After about three hours of a lot of questions and answers, juice extractions and urea content push outs – I finally wait for the reports to come. As I doze off in the waiting lounge, somebody calls my name two hours later. Waking up, I see the executive holding a folder in her hand an pointing me to “Room 152” where the Physician awaits. The physician smiles, reports are normal – my Cholestrol is border-lining somewhere and I get to exercise a lot to push it up. Yay!

Zoom forward to this day. I am in the same waiting lounge after all the puncturing and pushing out is complete. I don’t doze off, instead have carried a book along with me. I hardly complete a few chapters when I feel it best to have some lunch with my better half and get back.

So, am back in the waiting lounge. The executive recognises me, calls my name and puts me to “Room 152”. Physician smiles, all reports normal – Cholestrol is border lining on the lower side and I get to exercise a lot to push it up. Wait, deja vu? Didn’t this happen already? “No,” I think to myself, “I haven’t been exercising and hence the status quo of my body.” I take the reports – glance through things that I understand, shove it away in my backpack and return to work.

It’s night time and I am looking at the treasure of the day – my reports. I suddenly realise that I still have my older file, which my better half fetches for me. My curiosity on how have I fared increases and I don’t let it any more. My heamoglobin, cholestrol (both HDL/LDL), bilirubin and every other damn thing hasn’t changed since last year. It’s like my body has locked upon the values and there are a hundred billion cells trying to stand stationary and not move – lest any value changes!

Welcome to Wockhardt Hospitals. The database of this Hospital retains records and reports. Clean – very clean. They not only retain the reports, but they would print out the same report and give it back to you when you visit them next time. So what if they drew 200 ml of your red (or blue) bloods? So what if you pissed away into a container thinking it’s going to be a clear yellow report! The hospital database is retained for people by their names and birth date combinations (primary key for those who know). If there was ever a Rishi Pande in Wockhardt – he will always have the same Hb.

But why am I ranting? This is dangerous. You keep people who are pathologists and maybe they are doing their tests alright. But when you print out the reports, just because your software decided that as long as there is a fetch from the database, it’s good to be printed, you are going to create havoc. Now that every thing were normal today (I still don’t know if really every thing is normal), I don’t care. But suppose it were an emergency and my Hb count had been really low, whereas the report would have said “it’s fine dude, go back home and sleep”, the dude would be dead. Really dangerous for uninsured dudes.

Living in digital age is not fun. As long as there are `database fetch` programmers who are doing it just because they were told to, things are not going to be easy.

Message: “Watch out for the neo-digitised institutions. There are bugs everywhere.”

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