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Sorry Dr. Spengler - Print is Not Dead

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 3:36pm
Mike Auerbach, Editor in Chief

Harold Ramis, one of the great comedic geniuses of my generation and arguably one of the greatest of all time – passed away recently. For those that know of him, and for those that don’t, his resume of comedy classics include Animal House, Ghostbusters, Groundhogs Day, and Caddyshack among a slew of other movies.

I mention him because one of the most interesting lines in Ghostbusters occurs when his character, Dr. Egon Spengler says “Print is dead.” This from a movie that came out in 1984, well before anyone other than scientists had any inkling of what the World Wide Web would someday be.

Today, as we move closer and closer to a world where print is dead, or at least becoming used less often, I’m here to say – please don’t kill it yet. Electronics communication is just not all that it’s cracked up to be – at least not yet.

Why?

Take, for example, what used to be a fairly easy task – getting a prescription filled. Your doctor would give you a little slip of paper and you would hand it to the pharmacist and get your medicine – easy.

In today’s electronic world – that simple operation – which had worked well for decades has been replaced either by phone call or by the doctor using an iPad or some other tablet to electronically send the script to your pharmacy. This is supposed to make everything easier and quicker. But how many time have you walked up to the counter at your pharmacy and asked for your prescription only to be told “I’m sorry it’s not here. When was it called in?”

My frustration with this “new” process reached its zenith this past Saturday. My wife woke up with her left eye looking a lot like Bob Costas’ during the Olympics. Luckily our doctor’s office has Saturday hours. Sure enough it was pink eye, and a prescription for an antibiotic was sent to our pharmacy. We dutifully drive over. No record of the prescription is on file. My wife, who is getting visibly agitated, calls the doctor’s office – no one answers. She calls again – still no answer. Have they left for the day? I quickly hop in my car and drive back to the office.

Luckily they are still there. It turns out the doctor forget to send the prescription in and has left for the day. The office staff gets her on the phone and they get the prescription sent to the pharmacy – finally.

Could all of this been avoided if we had left with a WRITTEN prescription on a piece of PAPER?

Absolutely.

I miss you Mr. Ramis – but please I hope print is not dead – at least for a while.

 

Here’s the scene from Ghostbusters:

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