July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 3 - A Day in the Hospital
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Author:  KindaSkolarly [ Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 3 - A Day in the Hospital

Clarke opens this chapter with a birth certificate issued in 2018 (to him, in 1986, this would have been 32 years in the future). The newborn described on the certificate was conceived artificially, was rejected by his mom's artificial fallopian tube, and so on. I had to use the internet to check, but there are no artificial fallopian tubes. This book will probably have me looking up lots of things to see whether they exist.

After the birth certificate, Clarke describes a stroll through a hospital from his vantage point of July 20, 2019. He says that hospitals in 2019 don't look anything like the ones from 30 years earlier. They have a more home-like setting. Some are called "hospitels," a hybrid of hospital and hotel.

He addresses nuts-and-bolt issues, like rising healthcare costs and funding sources in flux, and he says that hospitals in 2019 have to boot people out the door sooner--more outpatient care, less inpatient. The number of outpatient surgeries will increase thanks to impressive new techniques.

He describes the important role of computers in the hospital. He overshoots on some things and underestimates on others. Maybe computers do empty bedpans, but I've never seen it.

Clarke says that "heroic procedures" like heart transplants will be approved less and less by insurance companies, and the poor will receive lesser care than the wealthy. Emergency rooms will be replaced by strip-mall clinics, ("McMedicines") where people will go for minor issues. And home testing could become popular--take your own samples, have your personal computer analyze them, then forward the results to your doctor.

MY IMPRESSION OF THIS CHAPTER: Clarke's not really predicting the future but anticipating it. His outlook is practical but often on the optimistic side. Which is fine with me. I like optimism. Let's go to the moon! But when he's talking about everyday things he seems to imbue people with more positivity than they (we) possess. For example he says, "And as Americans take increasing responsibility for their own health, and work to avoid diseases such as cancer and heart disease, hospitals will add wellness programs to their list of offerings. By capitalizing on the national obsession with staying fit..." So did things work out that way? In 2019, OUR 2019, America is statistically the most obese country in the world. But I look forward to more of Clarke's optimism. Makes a nice change from today's headlines, the REAL today's headlines.

Author:  LanDroid [ Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 3 - A Day in the Hospital

Clarke does emphasize improvements in hospitals almost as a hybrid of a hotel. But many still exist as sixty year old buildings, and although renovated, I don't see these as changing dramatically. New hospitals do seem to have much larger rooms that are all private, but I haven't noticed fresh greenery in these rooms, festive paintings, halls bathed in sunlight, aquariums, and other amenities that Clarke lists.
...two new parents share an intimate candlelight dinner, fresh shark with shallots and wild rice.

Well it's been nearly 30 years since I was in a birthing room, but I don't remember anything like that. I doubt many new moms would want a meal like that so soon after giving birth. I believe hospital food has improved significantly, but not nearly to this extent. Fortunately I haven't visited many hospital so perhaps my impressions are wrong.

Computers are definitely much more useful in health care, mainly due to Government requirements for digitized records. I doubt that would have happened without regulations.

Author:  LanDroid [ Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 3 - A Day in the Hospital

Even the most optimistic social prophets concede that the poor and unemployed will suffer under the evolving health-case system. In the twenty-first century, the medical system may treat the poor one way and the affluent another. Medicare may curtail funds for heroic procedures altogether. Several states already use a gatekeeper system for Medicaid recipients in which a general practitioner determines whether a patient will have access to a specialist. This trend is likely to continue.
p. 45

Well as KindaSkolarly said, Clarke seems to be anticipating the future in this chapter, not predicting it. And here his optimism breaks down. However America recently made moves away from the multi-tiered health care system in attempting to provide much broader or even universal health insurance coverage. But now we're backing off from that. Difficult to anticipate where that pendulum is headed, but Clarke's pessimism in this area will probably be accurate. Medical systems don't appear to be as high of a priority for Americans as one would expect...

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