What if doctors were more like librarians?

December 31, 2009 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

So asks a Slate.com writer, discussing the medicinal cornucopia that greeted police in Brittany Murphy’s bathroom.

Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., writes: “What if doctors were more like librarians? Would Brittany Murphy still be alive? Let me explain. If you go to your local library and can’t find a book in the stacks, a librarian consults a computer that tells you all you need to know: If the library carries that book, when the book is due back, whether its overdue or lost. If they don’t carry the book, they can tell you which branches do. And — if you’re like me, perpetually returning books late — your local librarian can, with a hint of scorn in their voice, deny you further checkouts until you return that book and cough up your fee. In short, libraries are technologically integrated; gone are the labyrinthine card catalogs in favor of streamlined digital records. Same for banks. Same for airlines. But not healthcare. The vast majority of doctors in this country are not integrated with each other, with the local pharmacies, or with laboratories.”

Librarians are technologically advanced! Yes! Not anachronistic remainders of earlier generations that read–and read books–but savvy information purveyors, connected to other information purveyors and interested parties. He goes on to make further, apt analogies between libraries and health care and how the latter should strive to be more like the former.

And this is written by someone outside the profession, too! Nice to get that kind of good press.

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