By the numbers

January 31, 2013 by MassDevice

Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC is a board certified internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist practicing at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, USA and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine.

By Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC

Westby Fisher

Diagnosis codes: numbers.
Procedure codes: numbers.
Spreadsheets of one's "productivity:" numbers.
Spreadsheets of RVU's: numbers.
Spreadsheets of total office visits: numbers.
Spreadsheets of new office visits: numbers.
Spreadsheets of complications: numbers.
Spreadsheets of new codes on top of old codes: nothing more than more numbers.

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Then numbers converted to numbers.

Spreadsheets of revenue: numbers.
Spreadsheets of accounts receivables: numbers.
Spreadsheets of patient satisfaction scores: numbers.
Number of Patient calls: numbers.
Number of Staff messages: numbers.
Miles traveled: numbers.
Continuing Medical Education credits: numbers.
National Practitioner Identifier: numbers.

Letters typed, converted to bytes, then bits, then zeros and ones.

Fingers numb, eyes searching.  Unable to find a numbere ... he stopped and looked up.

He wondered.

Where are the codes for color, for smell, for sound, for touch, for tears, for fear, for terror, for pain, for exhaustion, for laughter, for teaching, for listening, for learning, for love, for patience, for tenderness, or for grace?

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot," he thought as he marveled at the revelry of medicine's latest myopic trend:

cold, raw, unemotional, unassailable, yet remarkably error-prone,