Pam's Points: Let's all welcome doctors and hospitals to the 21st century

Pam's Points: Let's all welcome doctors and hospitals to the 21st century

October 25th, 2013 in Opinion Times

Docs: Take two aspirin and get a scanner

Health care providers made headlines this week belly-aching about a government mandate to move their paper records to digital records.

Welcome to the 21st Century, docs. And I have to tell you I have little sympathy (read here, a bad bedside manner) for you.

As a 30-year journalist, I recall writing several stories through the years about how my health records right here in Tennessee could soon (at least a decade ago) be on a card (think credit card-kind of thing) so that anywhere I might get sick, any doctor would be able to know my medical history and quickly help me.

So imagine my surprise each time I go to a doctor and have to recount, for the 50th time, that history in triplicate, longhand, and on paper. And then I read Kate Harrison's Thursday story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press about doctors warning of longer patient wait times because doctors are being "rushed" to go digital.

This is something doctors and hospitals and clinics needed to do years ago, and the fact that they didn't is downright scary.

Come on, docs. Just take your medicine.

Have we hit bottom?

Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama are among 19 states that still allow paddling in schools.

Is it right? Is it wrong? Yes and yes. It seems better than forcing youngsters out of the classroom, dooming them to continuing school failures. But only if the teachers and principals can be trusted not to make their discipline emotionally harmful to our kids.

In Sunday's paper, a map with Kevin Hardy's paddling story looked familiar. Why? Because it closely mirrors maps of the U.S. that show the most violent and the most peaceful states.

You guessed it: States where paddling is still allowed also are states that have the highest rate of violent crime, and at the moment Tennessee tops that list.

What came first, the paddlings or the propensity for acting out and becoming violent?

I guess we won't know until we stop the paddling.

TVA power lulls energize planning

Faced with the biggest drop in power demand in 80 years, the Tennessee Valley Authority is rethinking its future power needs, and that means rethinking what kind of power plants the agency might prioritize and build in the future.

On the books is the still-unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant in Jackson County's Hollywood, Ala., and small modular nuclear reactors in Oak Ridge. But right now, at least, natural gas is looking like a far cheaper option - especially if more shuttered coal plants could be converted.

But perhaps TVA might re-explore renewables and the utilities approach to prioritizing customer efficiency and conservation.

TVA is renewing its future plans now with the help of two outside panels: a new Regional Energy Resource Council will meet Wednesday in Hollywood, and a citizen panel called the Integrated Resource Plan working group will begin meeting in November. The public can weigh in as well. See how at www.tva.gov/irp.