Do you remember the last time you used a phone book? I mean the actual printed phone book supplied by the phone company. And when I say “phone company” I mean the one that provides hardwired telephone service to your home, not the company that sells the device you keep at hand all day every day; the one that’s so much more than a “telephone,” the one that provides immediate access to anything you might need to know, directions to anywhere you might want to go, and any item you might want to purchase.
It’s probably been quite a while since you let your fingers do the walking the old-fashioned way. It’s not just that technology has changed. We’ve changed. And, by far, the biggest changes that have occurred have to do with our expectations around access and connection. If you’re even moderately Internet savvy, you probably find it annoying if, say, you can’t pay a bill online, or if your favorite store won’t let you return an item the way you bought it. “Why can’t this just be EASY?” consumers lament. Now, have we really become so spoiled and impatient that we can’t do something the old-fashioned way? No. We just expect these things to be efficient these days, because we know they can be. We’ve been using communication technology to make all sorts of experiences steadily more efficient for years. And, anyway, I’d argue that what people – especially patients – want isn’t all that “new-fashioned,” but is, in fact, the opposite. They expect to feel less like a faceless number in a bloated system and have more personalized interactions.