A human factors blog

The steroids have me back up in the middle of the night and this morning I started running through a list of human factors issues we’ve dealt with during this ordeal.  As I said before, I’ve seen lots of things from the outside in over the years doing user research.  Living IN them in a whole different experience.  Here are a few fun ones since we’ve been here in Philly doing the radiation and chemo:

  • I swear the town we’re staying in has mixed up all the traffic signs to mess with me.  The regular green and  white street signs are gold and blue. There are hospital signs that are yellow and black like deer crossing signs. There are also red and white hospital signs. I have yet to see the standard blue and white H signs. My wonky eyes already have difficulty processing, so this just adds to the amusement.
  • I know that Enterprise software systems rarely talk to each other and share data. We’ve experienced this multiple times over.  The healthcare part of insurance and the pharmacy part of insurance have given us the run around multiple times because of miscommunication between what the doctor is prescribing, which pharmacy is dispensing it, how many pills are dispensed, when we are allowed a refill, etc. I have a pharmacy support person and a healthcare support person, both of whom we’ve had to call on multiple times to sort through the various prescriptions and treatments.
  • At a single  doctor’s office, it turns out that even though you have an appointment for labs and the doctor each week, there are multiple sign in systems and the lab can only call you if you are signed into their system but the front desk doesn’t necessarily know this, so the lab people have to wander around looking to see if they can grab the patient prior to the doctor appointment. Ah, the reality of workarounds. This, of course, has resulted in us and probably many others just sitting around waiting for no real reason.
  • Also, we get these printed sheets of all my appointments that are completely useless.  They are many, many pages and trying to actually find the time of my appointment in them is just silly. The nurses printing them out just shake their heads and smile because they feel our pain.
  • I’ve learned medication management is a nightmare, especially when you’re on 6 different medications, some requiring food, some requiring an empty stomach and some based on some other parameters.  It is hard enough for Mom and I, so I can only imagine an aging couple who are working with both of their  medications at once.

I certainly have a much better appreciation for all of this, even though none of it is surprising to me. Plus, we’ve only got 2 and a half weeks of radiation and then most of these issues will go away altogether anyway. 🙂

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