Discover more from Moon Maiden Musings
Removing the Human Approach to Healthcare
How TeleHealth is Destroying Medicine and Creating More Problems Than Solutions
In today’s world, everyone seems to be looking for the next best way to save time and create convenient shortcuts to make things in our lives a little easier. Oftentimes, this includes the utilization of technology, paired with inventive new ways to do things from the comfort of our own homes. We can order a new pair of shoes or have our favorite grocery store deliver our goods to us with a few clicks and a credit card. Technology has grown rapidly in nearly every aspect of our lives, particularly in the healthcare sector. Where we used to see large cabinets brimming with patient charts, we now see sophisticated electronic medical records systems in their place. The time we would previously have to spend pulling the records the evening before- and again filing away at the end of the day- is now freed up thanks to the implementation of these advanced online patient databases.
“Unfortunately, a great deal of the tech advances we have seen in medicine have NOT been as beneficial as we have been led to believe.”
Moon Maiden Musings is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my writings, consider becoming a free subscriber or upgrade to paid if you find value in my work. Thank you so much!
My first experience with the TeleHealth medical phenomenon came in 2017. While working under a psychiatrist at the California State Prison in Lancaster, my duties were to assist with the patients housed there that were being seen for varying degrees of mental illness. Many of the patients I encountered were lower-level offenders, but were in the building with the highest security protocols. I had to wear a bullet-proof vest and a face shield every time I entered this building just to make contact with the patients. I was also not permitted to proceed into this building without a personal escort from the guards. There was one time in particular that I remember I had to dodge a cup of urine being thrown at me by a patient that was particularly upset one day and refused to be seen by myself or the psychiatrist. It was definitely not a job for the faint of heart.
Clearly, some of these situations were not physically or mentally always the best spot to be in when dealing with patients. However, I was undaunted, and to be perfectly honest, that was the more extreme end. For the most part, the visits typically went without notable incident. But there were still risks involved, and to my understanding, it was for this reason that both the psychiatrist and the prison felt that one of the best options for seeing patients was to do so via electronic examination, or what is better known as TeleHealth. This works exactly the way it sounds… the patient meets with a provider via electronic screen, similar to how a Zoom meeting works. The provider has the health history of the patient available, asks some questions, gets feedback from the patient, and the provider makes their decisions based upon this exchange. There are even instances I have experienced (outside of the prison position) where they don’t even have a screen to provide a visual of the patient. A good old fashioned phone call is now considered adequate when making a clinical diagnosis. This is utterly and completely laughable. But back to the prison…
Like most people who are training for a job, I observed things a lot in the beginning. My first thought regarding this approach was that this was… different! But I was new to this workplace and enthusiastic, so I told myself that this was going to be a great idea, and I would be able to pick all of this up pretty easily. Seeing patients this way was going to be a piece of cake, and I was a tad relieved I wouldn’t have to always worry about the potential physical battles that came with working around these patients. Let me tell you: it was not that simple. While sitting in on my first round of patient encounters, I immediately noticed that the audio was lacking, often cutting in and out and creating issues. This made it a bit difficult to hear both parties, and it was going to be hard to take notes, which was part of my job. The screen was also tiny, and made it uneasy to actually see the patients. I thought this was all pretty ineffective, but it all seemed to work well enough. I was new, not in a position to ask questions, and I was able to get my job done…no big deal.
“During the course of the whole Plandemic madness, we seen fear and compliance cause this massive shift over to using a computer screen for virtually everything… from work, to school, to healthcare.”
But in reality, just these little details are a very big deal. While I only fleetingly questioned it at the time, I was right for doing so. It was not until a few years later that I realized how utterly ridiculous this method is for connecting with patients. You see, during the course of the whole Plandemic madness, we seen fear and compliance cause this huge shift over to using a computer screen for virtually everything… from work, to school, to healthcare. This has caused TeleHealth to be put front and center, and it appears to be here to stay. In fact, providers report a massive 50-175% increase in TeleHealth visits since 2019. But the real evidence we have to examine is whether or not we have traded short-term convenience for long-term consequences.
TeleHealth may provide a convenient way for providers to do things like see an otherwise unruly patient, but it comes with a lot of trade-ins. We are not simply eliminating human contact and replacing it with a screen, we are replacing true care. This is unacceptable. There are important phenomena that occur during the patient encounter that a provider is unable to perform when using this modern method of examination. They cannot palpate a patient and feel with their hands, nor can they auscultate for noises like normal bowel sounds or heart rhythm. What if the patient has very sweet smelling breath or a terrible rotting smell coming from their mouth? A provider simply would not know these things, and essentially, they are relying on a patient’s description of their subjective symptoms without attempting to make objective findings.
“A good old fashioned phone call is now considered adequate when making a clinical diagnosis. This is unacceptable.”
These patient examination processes are basic knowledge for anyone with a healthcare background. Of course, it makes sense to have this connection when it comes to something as important as health. However, it is also key to remember that the patients a provider encounters will not always be knowledgeable regarding what they should be reporting about their health. There are not always even obvious or outward symptoms for some ailments, so if the person does not have a provider who knows what to look for working with them- who is physically present with the patient - we can see how scenarios will be created where health risks you would have been able to detect will go unnoticed. This is why TeleHealth FAILS!
To establish good care, a provider needs to have a real connection with their patients. This is not possible when the delivery system for healthcare consists of encounters via electronic screens and telephone calls. We are not machines, we are not numbers in a queue or a time slot in a providers schedule. We are biological, conscious beings that require a human connection in order to truly experience how another person is functioning in their current state. When quality is surrendered in favor of convenience, we lose the ability to receive thorough and well-rounded health advice. We sacrifice our ability to connect, and we are left vulnerable to misdiagnosis or with ailments that are completely overlooked. This is surely a contributing factor to the uptick in illness we have seen plague our society in recent years. It is time to get away from this modernized system of healthcare delivery, and get in touch with providers who want to connect with their patients. It is time we create and demand a health delivery system that truly seeks to heal and promote wellness within the body, mind and spirit.
ADDITIONAL READING AND SOURCES