Monday, August 29, 2016

A slight divergence to talk about how I use OSCAR and my thoughts on Technology.....

I tend to be an early adopter of new technology.  I always like to personally assess technology to see if it can be incorporated into my life or my office to make life easier.  Sometimes it works - and sometimes it doesn't.

It is ALWAYS fun to try, though.

In terms of how to better use OSCAR, I have found that the single BEST way to use it is through a wireless network on a Macbook Air.  It just works.

I DID try to use a Yoga 2 Pro, running the new Windows 10 - just to keep up with the world of was a miserable experience.  It mostly worked - but it just wasn't slick, and ended up wasting a LOT of valuable time.

I'm not a Mac evangelist by any means....I just value my time, and Windows 10 wasted a lot of it.

I suspect that windows users would never really notice how terrible their computer experience is until they try a Mac for a week to accomplish the same tasks.

Very, very few would be willing to go back to anything windows.

But I digress:  The Macbook Air is "the" way to use OSCAR in the office.  It is small an unobtrusive, and lets you dictate or type or use "text-expander" to take notes while the patient is talking to you.  There is an art to doing this unobtrusively - and I am still trying to improve my technique.....but I would say that most patients now don't think that they computer is "in the way".

Most importantly, you can close the clamshell of a Mac to walk to the next patient room....then open it in the next room....and you are back in business immediately with no delay.

Try doing that on a Windows machine!  NEVER works smoothly, and often logs you out.  Wastes a LOT of time.

Another thing I have recently tried, is to use my new iPad Pro.  Natively, it just "mostly" works....but for "mission critical" work like this, "mostly" is far from the mark.  So I thought that this was a "no go".....until I gave Parallels a try.

Parallels Access allows you to use the iPad Pro as a remote control for a desktop or laptop upon which you are using OSCAR.  This basically lets you turn your iPad into a desktop upon which you can run OSCAR, and it will print prescriptions, email, take voice dictation input or pen input, etc. without even a tiny stutter in performance.

It is so good that I may just no longer bother carrying my Macbook Air with me from room to room anymore.

I can also run neat apps on my iPad, like Essential Anatomy: this lets me show patients in "peel away" views, exactly which muscle is the problem with, for example, "Piriformis Syndrome", etc.

Overall, the implementation of these very nice "off the shelf" technological levers has been very beneficial to delivering the "medical care experience" in the office.  Patients feel included and well-informed.

Someone once said to me that patients take home about 10% of what you tell them, but they will remember 75% of what they see and 200% of what they feel.  We therefore take great pains to let them know that we actually care about them in this increasing "race to the bottom" our Politicians are forcing upon us to service the myth of "universal health care".

This iPad app allows patients to help to "see" what is going on with the various mechanical issues that can go wrong with a body.

So - where have I failed in my zeal to try technology in the real world?

The Apple Watch:  it has the "cool" factor for about a day, and then you fantasize about hurling it off a bridge.

I don't say this lightly.  I LOVE technology, and I love to see where it can fit into my life and work.  But the Apple Watch is FAR too ahead of its time.

The bottom line?  The Apple watch DOES NOT WORK.

It can't even tell time without a lot of fuss and bother.

Technically, the little accelerometers inside the Apple Watch, calculate according to a fuzzy logic algorithm, whether or not you just did a wrist flick to tell the time....or whether you just decided to "talk with your hands because you're a little bit Italian".  It gets it right about 90% of the time.

And THAT's the kicker.  A watch that is less than 100% reliable is a fail, no matter HOW you try to excuse it.  And all the cool little apps that you can buy for it?  They don't work (bottom line).  Sure, you can tap the face of your Apple Watch to open an App.....but then you need to go for a coffee, have lunch with your wife, see 10 patients, etc. before you can actually interact with the app.

Yes, I'm exaggerating (a bit).  But it takes at least 20-30 seconds for many (or most) of the apps to open and to start working.  This makes them 100% useless.

Oh - and try to take a pulse for 30 seconds with the Apple watch!  The screen turns off in 6 seconds.  You can probably modify this in the settings - but then your watch will stop working in a few hours because of lack of power.

Oh - and you CANNOT use an Apple Watch if you are a Physician.  Evidently, nobody in Cupertino has ever worked more than 8 hours in a day (or less if you count the 10 daily breaks for Latte's).  If you work a 24 hour call day, you have no hope of having your Apple Watch make it through with you.

You MUST charge the Apple watch for hours every night or it will simply cease to function.

I have concluded that the ONLY purposes of an Apple Watch are to

1) Save its own battery at the cost of literally everything else.
2) Make you worry about saving its battery at the cost of everything else.

I danced out of the Starbucks to the dismay of its caffeine-addled occupants after having sold my Apple Watch for the price of $800 (I paid $1200) to the "lucky dude" who made the offer on Kijiji.

Back to my old reliable mechanical, self-winding, waterproof to 300m, shock and freeze-resistant, with a second hand that never stops "normal" analog watch that I will never take off again.

And if anybody even THINKS of making an OSCAR App for the Apple Watch........