Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Code for the Day: Z99.89 - Dependence on Smartphones?

My brother was in town yesterday and we got the family together and had dinner.  It was organized over a series of text messages as I sat across from my mother and grandmother during lunch on Sunday.  I knew Mom would give the 411 to Dad.  And I texted my BF to give him the invite as well.  Done.  And all in a matter of minutes without talking to any people (other than my mom and grandmother). 

While I had my phone out, I checked Facebook to see if anyone had posted any new pictures from my high school reunion over the weekend.  I love seeing the little red numbers at the top of my Facebook app telling me how many new notifications, messages, and new friend requests I have.  It's more satisfying than seeing the little red numbers by the email icon telling me I have new email.  Because let's face it, most of my email these days is junk mail trying to get me to spend money at one store or another.  And if someone important really wants to reach me, they'll text... But I digress...

So at dinner last night, my brother was telling me about some study saying that we are addicted to technology and it's making us stupid.  Not him and me, per se, but people in general.  Apparently they measured people's brain activity when they were doing mindless things on their smartphones - like checking Facebook - and found there was pathetically low brain activity.  And he told me there was no code for it.  Yet. 

Game on!

No code for it?!  Maybe not a specific code, but I decided I must find one!

Yes, I love purple.  And polka dots.
First of all, I didn't spend a lot of time researching this supposed study.  Partly because I really think he's right - I do think smartphones can reduce us to potatoes quicker than a TV (if we let it) and partly because I have ADD, but mostly because - hello! - I have a job!  Which means I have limited time.  Okay, I looked a little.  I googled it, of course, and found what some are lovingly referring to as Ari Gold syndrome.  That's a reference to the manic agent played by Jeremy Piven on HBO's Entourage in case you missed it.  And the article hit a little too close to home.  I sleep with my iPhone on the nightstand.  I check email and Facebook first thing in the morning.  I have been guilty of texting my BFF while my BF is trying to talk to me.  I can't let go of my old iPhone in case the new one breaks.  I have multiple cases for both phones (see picture).  And I am sorely disappointed that I can't find a place to hang the cute Coach charm I had on my Blackberry on my iPhone (the Blackberry was a long time ago and way before I entered into a commitment with Apple!) .  But after reading the article, I decided to make a conscious effort to stop. Well, slow down anyway.

So here's the scoop.  Is there a code for Ari Gold syndrome?  Well let's break down the symptoms of Ari Gold syndrome  - these are things like sleeping next to your phone, being disappointed when there are no emails, Facebook, or Twitter updates, buying "outfits" for your phone (guilty - again, I refer you to the picture), ignoring people in your immediate presence because you are too busy texting or Facebooking or tweeting or whatever.  If the worst thing in the world you can imagine is losing your smartphone, you might have Ari Gold syndrome.  If you can't communicate without all the LOLs, BRBs, BFFs, and BFs (please note - the text lingo was used on purpose in this posting to drive home my point!), you might have Ari Gold syndrome.  If you get a sudden rush every time the text message tone rings, you might have Ari Gold syndrome.  I'm no doctor, but this sounds like dependence to me. 

And even though I've had a long day and really don't want to see another code for another 10 hours or so, I looked it up.  And alas, there it was - the code for the day - and the closest thing I could find to smartphone dependence:
  • Z99.89 Dependence on other enabling machines and devices
Okay, here we go.  Coders all across America are screaming at their computers after reading this.  They are probably saying this is a medical device code, but it doesn't say that.  It says other enabling machines and devices.  What is a smartphone anyway?  I rest my case.
 This is also what I refer to as the Wall-E effect (great movie - rent it if you haven't seen it!).  And it's the reason the ICD-10 Task Force I chair in Colorado never meets via conference call.  Because we need to renew the art of meeting and talking to people in person.  It's why I always recommend to new students who are looking for work as coders to go to meetings and talk to people.  Using the latest form of smartphone technology is a great skill to have.  So is effective face-to-face conversation. 

So if you found this blog through Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin - welcome!  If you are reading it right now on your smartphone, bravo!  And now I challenge you to put down your smartphone and go have a nice conversation with someone.  I need to go check Facebook.  Ha!  Just kidding!  Okay, seriously, I will check Facebook and then go read one of those paper things.  What are they called?  Oh yeah, books.