Last night, I woke up just after midnight and couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided long ago to stop resisting my biological quirks and make good use of my insomniac time. So first, I read a fascinating article in the November 12 New Yorker by Atul Gawande “The Upgrade: Why doctors hate their computers.” You may have heard of this surgeon/author because of his frequent presence in the New Yorker and non-fiction best sellers, including Being Mortal and Complications.
Having seen my own doctors tapping away at their computers during my appointments, and having appreciated the convenience of communicating with them by email, I hadn’t thought much about the topic. But the new wave of medical software, it seems, has given our docs even more work and stress, and disempowered those (often female) medical office assistants who used to help take the burden off. One such office assistant, Jessica Jacobs in Gawande’s own practice, said that each new software upgrade reduced her role and shifted more onto the physicians.
“It’s a sort of ‘stay in your lane’ kind of thing. Office assistants have different screens and are not trained or authorized to use the one doctors have. You can’t learn more from the system. You can’t take on extra responsibilities. All I can do is go after the help desk thirteen times.” Well worth reading, and much more interesting in my view, than recent New Yorker fiction.
Then about 3 a.m., I reached for my phone and ear buds and clicked onto the PBS Frontline website to check on a recommendation from a friend: a 2-hour special report from October titled “Trump’s Showdown.”
I had recently watched Frontline’s 2-part “The Facebook Dilemma”and recommended it on Facebook, but hadn’t had a chance to communicate with the followers of my blog about it. Both of these reports were brilliant, and intersected around the topic of Russian trolls and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“Trump’s Showdown” kept me enthralled and engaged more than any fiction movie in recent memory. I follow the news pretty closely but I saw astounding clips of Trump and his minions vs. respected journalists that I had never seen, and after 2020, hope never to see again. The Frontline documentary was aired prior to the mid term elections, some of the predictions by reporters and government talking heads are already coming true.
I recommend watching PBS’s “Trump’s Showdown” (available free online) as soon as you can, and preferably with others since there is much to discuss. Even if you only have time to watch it in the middle of the night, it is worth your attention. This true tale is much better and more engaging than fiction.