Editor’s Page: Direct Deposit, Lyft and Uber, Venmo and Now Online Medical Care—Am I Ready?
If reaching a doctor 24/7 is as simple as turning on a computer, why aren’t more of us doing it?
PHOTO: KAREN DB PHOTOGRAPHY
I received flu medicine by way of computer. It was March. My 9-year-old daughter went out with girlfriends and returned with a brightly printed fan, a bracelet and, we discovered two days later, the flu. I was knocked out next. Lying on the couch, semi-dozing my way through Hotel Transylvania 3, even the idea of rising to go to the kitchen was exhausting—let alone to the doctor’s office. Instead, I went online, messaged my physician and in 24 hours obtained Tamiflu for myself and my husband so I could keep the last man standing, well, standing.
It is rare that I use a health care portal. In many ways I’m an old-school paper-trail kind of person. It took years to talk me into direct deposit. I’ve never Lyfted or Ubered in my life and when a co-worker asked if she could repay me via Venmo, I met her query with a blank stare then laughter. I often feel like an outlier. When it comes to online medical care, it turns out I’m in the majority. The American Hospital Association says 76% of U.S. hospitals use technology to connect doctors to patients. But despite all the ads and promotion, the state says only 12% of local patients log in. Will that change? Hawai‘i’s banking on it. This spring, lawmakers created a telehealth advisory council and named a new state telehealth coordinator. Getting all of us to make the connection will not be simple. Senior editor Don Wallace talked with physicians, health care administrators and experts for the big picture. And his story starts with a single doctor, a Fiat and a lot of road trips.
You can find virtually anything online, including a simple black-and-white document uploaded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1995. The booklet was clearly not designed with the web in mind—each scanned PDF shows the two holes punched into the top of each of the original pages. But the first directory of Hawaiian artists and practitioners is fascinating to read. Some arts, such as lei making and hula, name more than 20 kumu as resources. Other categories were followed by a single name. Fourteen years later, as OHA works on its first directory update, staff writer Jayna Omaye went in search of those craftspeople, musicians and athletes fighting, sometimes solo, to keep lesser-known Hawaiian traditions alive.
Mid-November is makahiki, the Hawaiian new year; it’s also the start of the rainy season, which is marked by the rising of the constellation Makali‘i (Pleiades). In honor of this time of sports and recreation, we’ve created a list of cultural workshops and classes for you to try. See what happened when Jayna went land sledding (on a much smaller hill at a much slower speed). I may try that next. Maybe I should bookmark my health portal.
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Read all of these stories in the November issue of HONOLULU Magazine. Available on newsstands in November, or purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com. Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.