Thursday, 12 May 2011

The dentist and I were discussing crime

fiction yesterday. We have discussed books before - as much as it is possible to discuss anything when you have a mouth full of someone else's fingers. It made an interesting change from the weather, my journey there or some other equally inane topic. I rather like my dentist as a person even though I am less fond of her ministrations.
Our dental practice is part of our health fund. It is much cheaper to attend the practice than it is to go elsewhere so my father and I make the trip into the CBD at regular intervals. There are several female dentists in the practice. I have no doubt this is because they can, if necessary, work part-time. The administration of the practice is in the hands of the health fund. They can concentrate on being a dentist and not on such things as problems with the premises in which they work or the great load of non-dental related paperwork.
Our medical practice now works much the same way. This is almost certainly another good thing. It gives doctors a couple of extra minutes to concentrate on the needs of the patient.
Schools are starting to work the same way. The legal profession has done this for years. I have no doubt that other professions are also banding together to do the same sort of thing.
But all this also makes me wonder about the vast amounts of information that seem to be needed for everyone to do their job.
I suspect life was once much simpler. You were asked (or told) to do something. You did it. Depending on your status you negotiated payment or you were paid a set sum or you received your food ration.
Records will be kept of my visit yesterday. There will be records of when the reminder card was mailed out, of when I made the appointment and who made it. My train journey in and out of the city will be recorded. Cameras will have recorded my journey up North Terrace and into Gawler place. My journey in the lift to the seventh floor will have been recorded. My time of arrival will have been recorded at the desk. My previous records will have been accessed. The dentist will have recorded her examination, added the new x-rays and noted when she wants to see me again. All this is once again recorded in the files and added to the statistics kept by the health fund, including the fact that a receipt was issued when I paid.
No doubt records were kept of things I have not even thought of. Even without that the amount of record keeping seems extraordinary.
I wonder whether all this record keeping is not also a crime. Is there a book plot somewhere in all of this?


Sarah said...

There's a plot in everything I believe - just not always something we want to write :)

widdershins said...

Of course there is. What if ... all the records in the world suddenly disappeared at the same time?