GPs dump unreliable app

OUR doctors’ surgery has abandoned its trial of the askmyGP app.

Apparently this computerised triage system wasn’t reliable enough to be safe, because of “constant intermittent service and downtime”.

It’s a shame, in a way, because Salisbury Medical Practice is always trying to improve its patient experience, and I can see that in theory an app like this should have helped it prioritise and respond to people’s needs and generally be more efficient.

It certainly did away with the sometimes embarrassing requirement to discuss your symptoms with a call handler before waiting for a GP to call back.

And hooray, it did mean no more recorded messages and Vivaldi!

I had reason, unfortunately, to use the app several times (don’t ask), and apart from one initial blip, I found it excellent. I guess I was lucky in that respect.

And of course people who aren’t tech-savvy still had to stick with the old routine.

So now there’ll be more work for those long-suffering souls on the other end of the phone.

But at least that means jobs, for real people. And goodness knows we need more of those.

It’s why I always refuse to ‘Pay@Pump’ for my fuel, or use an automated checkout at a supermarket.

‘Just because we can’ is not actually a good reason to do anything.

Automation has benefits. But not always for society as a whole.

Instead of tamely accepting every new invention that’s thrown at us to make someone else a profit, we desperately need to work out collectively how everyone can earn enough to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads in the future. The option, I fear, is increasing social unrest.

I read with horror this week that Amazon, not content with its decimation of so much traditional retail and the massive fortune of its founder, is now muscling in on the grocery market.

I’m no apologist for the likes of Tesco or Aldi, but for goodness sake, how much money does Jeff Bezos need? And how many wage slaves clocking on for a pittance like those zombie workers in that Fritz Lang film Metropolis?

Machines need to serve mankind, not vice versa. And we need to think long and hard about which ‘technological breakthroughs’ really benefit all of us.

Can’t see the current crew at No.10 losing a moment’s sleep over moral conundrums like that, though.

Article originally posted on Annie Riddles blog – http://annieriddle.blogspot.com/

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