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More health IT comedy means the public is taking notice

I often share jokes and humorous videos here, sometimes because a product is worthy of ridicule, but also to illustrate how some health IT is going mainstream. I’m going to do it again today because two things happened in the last week that I had not seen before.

First, though Stephen Colbert has made fun of digital health and fitness products before, last week he took it upon himself to do so on consecutive nights.

On Sept. 8, he took down the forthcoming Pavlok fitness bracelet, a product that sends an electrical jolt to the wearer’s arm as a reminder to exercise. It also debits the user’s bank account and posts an embarrassing message on Facebook. No, really. “When you’re in a dark place, alone at home, out of shape and too tired, overweight or depressed to work out, it’s probably because you weren’t getting enough public humiliation,” Colbert said.

 

A night later, Colbert, like the rest of the world, was talking about the Apple Watch. After cheering wildly about the announcement, Colbert asked, “What does it do?” He then showed a picture of himself from high school and said it was finally cool to wear a calculator watch.

 

Then, on Friday, no less than America’s Finest News Source, The Onion, got into the act with its “American Voices” feature, in which common people (actually, the same five or six headshots recycled for years with different names and occupations) give their fake opinions on a newsworthy topic. That day, the subject was, “Patients Making Record Number Of Telehealth ‘E-Visits’ With Doctors,” with a reference to an actual Deloitte study on that very topic.

As one “commenter” said, “Until doctors can email me painkillers, I don’t see the point.”

 

September 16, 2014 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Might as well cash in on fervor over new iPad

I’m not one to sell myself out, but I read a story in satirical newspaper The Onion today with the following headline: “This Article Generating Thousands Of Dollars In Ad Revenue Simply By Mentioning New iPad.” An excerpt:

“Furthermore, any subsequent mention of the new iPad in this article—as well as any mention of the fact that preorders for the device start today—is resulting in increased reader traffic and, thus, increased revenues for your company’s ad-based business model.” At press time, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad.

Gotta love lame attempts at SEO! We’ll see if it works for me. ;)

March 7, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

The Onion nails healthcare for slow EMR adoption

Satirical newspaper The Onion (“America’s Finest News Source”) is on its game once again. Many of you probably have already seen the story from last week, headlined, “Quick-Lube Shop Masters Electronic Record Keeping Six Years Before Medical Industry.” (I tweeted about it over the weekend and some other healthcare blogs have posted it.)

An excerpt:

“We figured that a basic database would help us with everything from scheduling regular appointments to predicting future lubrication requirements,” said the proprietor of the local oil-change shop, Karl Lemke, who has no special logistical or programming skills, and who described his organizational methods, which are far more advanced than those of any hospital emergency room, as “basic, common-sense stuff.” “We can even contact your insurance provider for you to see if you’re covered and for how much, which means we can get to work on what’s wrong without bothering you about it. The system not only saves me hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, but it saves my customers a bundle, too.”

“In other words, we’re so pathetic that a bunch of young joke writers in NYC who almost never go to the doctor have noticed,” the insightful Michael Millenson notes via email.  Millenson also points out that this is not the first time The Onion has made light of quality problems in hospitals. He referred to a 2005 article with the headline, “‘Employees Must Wash Hands’ Signs Top Iraqi Hospital Wish List.” The story said, “‘We appreciate the bedding, laundry-sanitization equipment, window glass, penicillin, needles, wall-repair materials, and so on, but without clean hands, none of these mean anything.’ Al-Obaidi said the importance of hand-washing could not, unlike doctors and nurses, be overstressed.”

Yes, we’re so pathetic that a bunch of young joke writers who almost never go to the doctor noticed six years ago that hand-washing in hospitals can save lives. Yet, clinicians in the U.S. routinely slip up in this department. (Paging Don Berwick yet again!)

March 22, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.