Editor's Note

IF THERE ARE ANY immortals among humans, they will likely experience a pleasing observation one day, a day distant in the future.

IF THERE ARE ANY immortals among humans, they will likely experience a pleasing observation one day, a day distant in the future.

"You know what? I don't think I've heard anyone say 'baby boomer' in years."

"Thank goodness! I thought it would never end."

The persistent sociological reference over several decades to the widespread insemination of fertile women during the aftermath of World War II was as deafening as a Led Zeppelin concert. The upcoming realization among immortal humans will likely not arrive before the middle-age years of Millennials. Although they certainly will speak less frequently of baby boomers, there are still fond memories.

"I remember when my baby boomer parents finally sobered up about recycling. For years, they just kept dumping everything into one trash can."

In the end, baby boomers just had one thing to say to descendants: "How come the button doesn't always work?" They grew up admiring the handheld hair dryers developed by traditionalists and grew old admiring the technology apps developed by Millennials.

But, in their final days, however, baby boomers asked, "You want me to do what in source code? Why can't it just work when I press the button?"

Baby boomers found the on-off switches on hair dryers to be more reliable, even though they disliked the traditionalists' concept of building products that needed to be replaced semi-frequently. "My hair dryer broke this morning. Only had it about three years. Gotta go buy another one. Just telling you in case you're wondering why I look like Frankenstein this morning."

Lord save us, the Millennials sure got tired of the baby boomers prattling on. "Why don't you just text me about your hair problems. This is too much information for me right now. I just want to eat my bagel and hummus in peace, OK?"

Millennial dental hygienists need a little peace and quiet every now and then. In addition to not being able to find a job, they're discovering that they are not called dental hygienists anymore. Everybody thinks dental hygiene is a hair dryer that needs to be replaced.

Dentists want oral preventive assistants or community dental health coordinators to do an unhealthy chunk of the work performed by dental hygienists. Some very strong allies, though, are backing dental hygiene associations to develop midlevel providers to do the work of super-dental hygienists.

The process of advancing the dental hygiene profession is patchwork stuff, much like waiting for the baby boomers to fade out. Late last year, the ADHA received a gift when the Federal Trade Commission joined in the call for a uniform approach to dental therapy programs in all states, not just California, Maine, and Minnesota.

Lord save us, the baby boomers were pressing as hard as they could on that button on their app, just to see if one of those tooth cleaning ladies would appear.

"Hello, again. I was in the middle of examining your radiographs. Do you need something?" the Millennial dental hygienist will respond. "By the way, the app on your cell phone works. You need to tap the screen lightly just once, not press down on it a dozen times."

Wouldn't it be great if access to care was delivered the same way everywhere? Consumers, which still include baby boomers at the moment, need a comprehensive, uniform delivery system. They deserve it.

Mark Hartley
markh@pennwell.com

More in Radiology