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Docs on the Net

Dr. Howard Bennett
Author Dr. Howard Bennett
Submitted 29-10-2007

Now that the Internet is taking over the planet, it’s just a matter of time
before medical practices all have their own personal web sites. To give you an
idea of what you should expect from a doctor’s web site, we have prepared the


to Uptown 


Appointments On-Line
Home Care
Electronic Waiting Room
Night Call/Chat Room
House Calls
Paying Your Bill
For Prospective Patients
Hot Links


Appointments On-Line

Tired of busy signals that go on for hours and receptionists that instantly put
you on hold? Why not make your next appointment on-line? Simply click on the
above heading and our office schedule will be downloaded onto your computer. By
following the on-screen instructions you can easily make your own appointment
with one of our doctors. Select “S” for a sick visit, “PE” for a routine
checkup, or “H” if you’re a hypochondriac.



Does your child have a pea stuck up his nose or some other emergency? If so,
click on the above heading and our emergency monitoring program will link your
computer to the closest Emergency Medical Unit in your area. If you purchased
the Home Foreign Body Option when joining our practice, an EM tech can show you
how to remove the object with an accessory attached to your computer’s mouse
while you wait for the ambulance to arrive. For other emergencies, detailed
on-screen instructions will enable you to keep your children stable until the EM
team shows up. Our instructions are available in all modern languages and over
thirty dialects including Pennsylvania Dutch, Cajun, and New England Drawl.


Home Care

Do you think that doctors make way too much money? Do you think that you could
do just as good a job if you had access to their fancy medical books? By
clicking on the above heading you will have access to our extensive diagnostic
library. Type in your past medical history, current symptoms, and whether your
child eats any vegetables, and a list of possible diagnoses and treatment
options will be downloaded onto your screen.

If you have a rash, you can review hundreds of icky photos and try

to match your condition with one of the pictures. Of course, if your diagnostic
journey gets complicated, simply click on the appointment heading and schedule a
visit with one of our overpaid doctors. (We promise that choosing this option
will not increase your waiting time in the office.)


Electronic Waiting Room

Despite attempts to keep our on-line services efficient, there will be occasions
when heavy traffic slows things down. To make this wait as pleasant as possible,
we’ve created an electronic waiting room. All the magazines that you’ve come to
rely on in the office are now available through our web site. You’ll find Time
magazines from the 1960s, Newsweeks from the Carter years, and a complete set of
National Geographic. Click on the above heading to see these classic periodicals
and more.


Night Call/Chat Room

Need help at night? Want to talk with other parents who are up having the same
problem you are? Our web site offers an alternative to the traditional
night-call system where you end up speaking with a groggy MD who can barely
remember why he went into medicine, let alone figure out what’s making one of
your kids vomit at 3 o’clock in the morning. In our system, you’ll be linked to
a room where you can not only “talk” with one of our doctors, but you can also
eavesdrop on the advice the doctor is giving to other patients. By holding down
a special key, you can interrupt the doctor and add your own opinion about what
the right course of action should be. In order to protect your privacy, each
patient picks a code name such as Strepman, Pinkeye, etc. Also, since many
patients have told us they tire of what the doctor has to say after a few
minutes, you can leave the main program and go to a separate chat room that’s
for patients only. This room is not monitored, so you can make as many
derogatory remarks about our doctors as you’d like.



It goes without saying that parking needs will become obsolete as more and more
medicine is practiced on-line. In the meantime, however, many of you will still
need to come to the office when you’re sick. To help you find a space, we are
linked with a satellite tracking system. This hi-tech system will help you find
a parking space within a five mile radius of our office.


House Calls

If it was good enough for Marcus Welby, it’s good enough for us! After a number
of requests from patients, we will soon be offering a House Call Option on our
web site. This service will begin once we install video conferencing on our home
page. Admittedly, it may be a little hard to feel someone’s belly on-line, and
it will be years before our Home Throat Culture Kits are approved by the FDA.
Despite a few such limitations, however, we’ll be able to evaluate most of your
organs by the time our new system is up and running.


Paying Your Bill

Now that a lot of banks are on-line, it’s only natural that doctors would follow
suit. To pay your outstanding bill, just click on the above heading. Within
seconds (or minutes depending on the size of your balance), your statement will
be downloaded for review. On-screen prompts will guide you so you can authorize
our payment program to access to your credit cards, bank account, retirement
fund, or your children’s piggy banks. If you feel faint after seeing your bill,
click on the Night Call heading and one of our doctors will help you with your
grief reaction.


For Prospective Patients

Most doctors try to impress patients by hanging their diplomas on the wall.
While this approach may have worked in the past, it will clearly fall short in
the new millennium. Our site is loaded with Quick Time movies on all of our
doctors. You can review their early, middle or later years, attend their medical
school graduations, or watch them do their first hernia exam. By clicking on the
above heading, you can even take a virtual tour of the office. This tour allows
you to see all aspects of office function, from patient encounters to practical
jokes the doctors play on each other in between appointments. Caution: the tour
contains information that may not be suitable for all viewers.



Spend some time at the medical edition of Web Court, which shows Quick Time
movies of actual malpractice litigation 24 hours a day (www.yourassisgrass.com).

Would you like to know if your proctologist cheated on any of his high school
science exams? Check him out at www.gotcha.org.

Ever wonder if your pharmacy is ripping you off when you fork over $150 for a
ten-day supply of antibiotics? You can find out the wholesale cost of every
prescription drug at www.what’llitcostme.com.



Dr. Howard Bennett Is a pediatrician in Washington, DC and the author of two
picture books, Lions Aren’t Scared of Shots and It Hurts When I Poop, both
published by Magination Press.