I have been thinking of writing about this stuff, since the day my daughter was born, but never got around to actually putting it down.

I noticed this at the Labor and Delivery room, in the hospital here in the US. The head-nurse, who was supposed to be helping my wife with the delivery, had to go to a computer terminal every 10 minutes to log the events happening at the delivery room.
I took a quick peek at the terminal and watched her writing comments like “mom is pushing hard, husband standing by the side and encouraging” and stuff similar to that.

Every time she comes around and shouts “1, 2, 3 PUSH”, spends a few minutes and goes back to the computer, feeding data.
She was doing this even after the delivery, inputting height / weight and other details of the new born.

and the other thing is, the hospital had introduced a new system in place, and this nurse took a long time to figure out how things work in this new system and believe it or not, she did all the typing with her index finger, looking at the keyboard and monitor making sure when she types “A”, the monitor displays “A”.

My questions is “WHY ???”

Whose fault is this ? is it the hospital that makes these old nurses [less comfortable with operating a computer] to do this whole data entry ? or is it the way we are all heading now, focussing more on technology and forgetting the real humane value.?

While doing all these new technology, we are totally lost on the basic duty of the nurse. isnt it?

Where are we heading ?

14 Responses to “More Technology = Less Human ?”

  1. Muthu says:

    We are heading to hell.

    Look at it this way. What if something went wrong. That data might have been very useful to see the progress and make predictions better.

    My point is that these days, we are moving away from natural things. Nothing is normal. Child birth is a natural process. You don’t have too much control or prediction on that. But we added all these checkups and other things around. Sometimes, it makes people predictable and add more issues.

    My friend, this world is full of shit ! Get back to a village with less amount of technology intervention when you see that your family is normal.

    More you put your finger with technology, you know what you are upto. Sit down and measure one day about how much time, you are speding with Electronics and gadgets…..

    All these machines make us dumb. We are lost already and you can’t change anything now. Try not to remember anything you read just now and start working during office hours !!!

  2. Uma Ramesh says:

    Hmm…I would say not using the technology at the very best was the problem over there at the hospital..the nurse could have used a palm to just enter whatever she needed to while staying near your wife..and then after the delivery could have gone back to her desk and transfered the data 🙂 or more easier one would have been just to make audio notes using a recorder and then enter the data later…*S*

    Jokes apart, teaching a old dog new tricks is always difficult and nowadays the learning curve is very steep when you are not in pace with growing technology..so nowadays everyone needs to be (forced to be) computer savvy whether like it or not..

    So I would say More Technology = More Confused Human

  3. Gunnar Haugestaul says:

    Hi. We are heading towards a technological singularity (unless we decide to make ourselves independent from technology).
    Good to see your concern, I recommend Derrick Jensen’s Endgame books.

  4. Supreeth says:

    I really liked your blog and your posts,and your new them is very good. :))

  5. Sean says:

    It’s the legal system. If everything isn’t done according to procedures the insurance company lawyers and the hospital lawyers will have a meeting and take a load of money off each other, then play golf.

  6. Djubba says:

    I like your thoughts/observations/words that you have expressed here.
    It seems that you’re starting to notice how complex and demanding our litttle ol’ modern way of life is becoming. More pressures, more multi-skilling, multi-tasking, dual degrees as minimum requirements from academia, high expectations on employees and professionals (the “workforce”). Complex and draining of individuals energy and spiritual resources.
    Complex, legalities, record-keeping, data gathering, monitoring, control, predictive analysis from data, etc. etc. blah blah blah…
    Just a visit to an Outpatient or Emergency ward, for the unfortunate and injured can turn into a bureaucratic nightmare for the less educated and aware.
    Such a simple observation with your recent visit to such an establishment, indicates much deeper and covert issues that confront many on a day to day basis, yet it seems few fully understand the implications of what is going on all around and within such organisations, professions, and State systems… and “they” (the powers that be) call it living!

  7. 8string says:

    We are halfway (or less) to the real solution, which is a voice actuated system for recording this stuff. (heck, they could sell that along with a video of the childbirth to cover the costs if they were smart). Part of the issue is legal, (in US) and part of it is that there’s no easy voice activated method available as a decent solution yet. It sort of surprises me that they haven’t figured it out yet, but directional mic’ing (that would follow the speaker’s facial movement) and background noise reduction appears to be very hard. I know there are some big research folks working on it. In the meantime, that poor nurse is forced to do that nonsense. It’s pretty common. I’ve seen that same thing happen over in a different kind of government agency, where the folks used to just handwrite field notes, and now the legal folks are forcing them to type everything out on computer. What used to take 10 minutes now takes them over an hour. Depressing. I’m thrilled to be using some simple Minidisk I bought a while back, and it dumps the entire thing to a .wav file on my computer, where I can annotate it and add tags. But it still requires a mic that follows the general voice.

  8. Janice says:

    This is why I opted to have my children at home. My midwife visited me every month then fortnight then week of my pregnancies. She became a family friend and we still keep in touch; even if, God forbid, anything had gone wrong, I would never have sued anyone. I felt strong, in control and healthy. I calculated that it would take less time to get me to the nearby hospital in an emergency than it would to get the on call doctor or anaesthetist from the hospital cafeteria to the labour ward.

    Pregnant women are not ill, nor should they be depersonalised and their vulnerabilities exploited. They are the heart of the human race and births should be cherished – not feared as a source of litigation, or made to fit in with hospital routines and doctors’ timetables.

    I am glad you have a beautiful daughter and that your wife and daughter are both well. I feel sorry for the dedicated nurses who are given neither the time nor the money to train properly in IT.

  9. Jauhari says:

    we need more creative, to exist in this world.

  10. Cherran says:

    Hi Sadish,
    I think we are losing not only our values,our existence too. The world is in the hands of economists,there is no dollar value to feelings, love and caring so they are losing their true values and meanings. Policies and Laws make this world a convenient hell.

  11. Sonia says:

    It is sad but so true, as if humans don’t like humans and we rather talk to an automated voice or a robotic personality

  12. Garam Chai says:

    Well, the end user seems to have been left out in the development of such systems. Let’s not blame technology. We, the information technology development community (developers, companies, procurers, etc.), lack the expertise and/or burdened by time/financial constraints to be able to empower the end user to seamlessly utilize advanced information technologies in his/her day job. In this specific system you allude to, we should also keep in mind the requirements that might be imposed by health care system in the U.S.
    (As an aside, a voice-activated system might be distracting to, or even hurting, laboring woman.)

  13. prax says:

    First of all Congrats Sadish on the arrival of ur baby girl ! and best wishes !

    This is kinda interesting, At one end in India even in mumbai and delhi.
    Children dont get good computers to study on and at the other a nurse have to got to do detailed reports on delivery instead of delivering ..
    This is sheer misuse of computers and a poor policy decision of the hospital management.

    thanks for ur mistylook theme.

  14. Tigerfish99 says:

    We are too dependent on data. Processing the data has become a real problem. Our computers have not improved on voice recognition and although most of us are doing without a secretary, we cannot dictate to the computer in the same way as we used to dictate to a secretary and order him/her to write it up in proper. Computers are just easy data-processing tools, but they do not learn alone and cannot apply their expereince to understanding better. Once computers will understand us and be able to process what we mean, then the nurse will no longer need to type, she will just advise the computer by voice of the on-going situation. At the moment, companies are just cutting staff costs because the bean-counters order them to do it. This is increasing the work load on the remaining staff. Maybe one of the solutions will be replacing our belly-button with a USB.

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