Sunday, August 19, 2012

* Skype and Scalpel is coming to a hospital near you.

       "Beware the Jabberwock" 
my friends. 

Every generation has it buzzwords, its jargon, its verbal codes which it throws around to reassure itself that it is "progressing," that its grasp of the human condition is more firm than the grasp of the preceding generation, and that indeed, we are on the cusp of arriving at utopia.

I find these phrases particularly irritating. 

Here are some of them which educators, politicians and health care providers throw around these days.  

You can be sure these buzzword combinations will be in the air for the next decade or so, and people will actually think they are making sense when they use them.   

You can also be sure if you hear them come out of someone's mouth that the brain attached to that mouth has stopped thinking, has grinded to a halt,  and is simply repeating what it thinks you want to hear. 

Here is a short list:

  • best practices
  • benchmarks
  • rubrics
  • accountability
  • transparency
  • outcomes
  • 21st first century (you fill in the blank : teaching; health care; education; infrastructure)
  • brain-based learning
These are but a few of the terms which the New Utilitarians use to describe the super-efficient machine which they predict our lives, our health care, our schools, and our businesses (everything except Wall Street) will become and which they, the priests of Utilitarianism, are already on the path to achieving, as signified by their incantatory mouthing of these phrases.



Note: (Skype and Scalpel is already upon us)

I have just finished reading an illuminating and rather chilling article in the current New Yorker entitled "Big Med" about the coming revolution in health care which will transform the "greasy spoon" of ad hoc medicine into an efficient streamlined machine, whose practitioners are employees of hospital chains, much like McDonalds.  

These chains will "produce" health care on assembly lines guided by the consensus thinking of medical analysts who have determined what are the "best practices" in everything from knee replacement to Intensive Care Unit efficiency, even going so far as to have regional control stations which monitor Intensive Care Units, for example, via televised images, whose nurse and physician managers interrupt  the on-site nurses and doctors  from television screens mounted in the ICU  (such Control Stations already exist) to alert them to incorrect medication dosages, improperly installed oxygen feeds, etc.  Big Brother (ooops)--- Big Med indeed.

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