I had an intestinal problem last month. Mostly it was from the belly button down coupled with gas and some nausea, weariness and tenderness. I was sleeping well, and my vital signs were excellent but I basically felt moderately rotten. Not deadly rotten, but not my usual exuberant self either. I had talked to the online nurse a couple of times and finally got a doctor’s appointment, but the medical establishment didn’t seem to think my problem was serious so they were basically telling me not to worry and it would get better. That would have been okay, but I still felt mildly rotten. There just wasn’t a better description.
What would seem more appropriate these days would be a more interactive form of medical diagnosis. An integrated interplay of patient, computer upload of data from home (in a safe way of course), a nurse to discuss symptoms on a telephone or two-way video Skype, a computer analysis and display of potential diagnosis, an analysis of previous blood and urine workups, a DNA analysis blended in and a few at-home tests the patient could perform, and soon a personalized monitor which is online which itself could have a GPS locator. All of this could be done before entering the doctor’s office.
Once in the doctor’s examining room, a more informed diagnosis could begin. It should include a large computer screen which would show all of the data above and the various potential diagnosis for the disease. The screens should show the various tests for determining where the problem lies, and the treatments which should be applied to the different problems. Sometimes there would be a similar treatment for different diseases, and when that was the case the treatment could be started even before the lab results came back.
All of these things point to a more interactive and informed patient. The interactivity is with the complete medical database. Some people wouldn’t like it; they just want the doctor to tell them what to do. But compliance of the patient would probably be greater if they were part of the diagnostic procedure and they could understand why they were doing the various things which were intended to help them get better.
My doctor thought I had reflux disease. I didn’t think so, because my problem was with my lower intestines and not with my throat and with stomach reflux. However, after some argument, because I had had some bad results with the previous drug he wanted me to take, I did agree to take the less effective alternate, the over-the-counter drug Mylanta. It doesn’t appear to have any serious side effects, and after a couple of weeks of taking it, my problem is much better. There are other possibilities for what was ailing me, but it also appears I am feeling much better. Perhaps it was just time, or perhaps it was the drug. In any case I will stick with the drug as long as my doctor thinks I should.