These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Electronic Medical Record Rant 3

Barriers to Care

Doctors are speaking out more and more about electronic
medical records.  As a general rule, we’re not really fond of them.  There are lots of different reasons:

·        Some of us don’t type all that well.  It’s just a fact of life that your average 60 year old doesn’t touch type at 70 to 80 words per minute.  This is one time I’m glad I’m “above average”.

·        Many of the EMRs have a touch screen that you have to pick various places and go from screen to screen to enter data.  They were not designed by the people who are actually using them.

·        I feel that it puts a barrier between me and my patient.  Before, when I was talking to my patient, I would lean on the chart, making small notes if needed, and fleshing them out later.  Now I sit behind a laptop and type off and on the whole time I am talking to the patient.  It feels impersonal.

·        My EMR won’t print out the bill until the note is complete.  So, I have to have the note finished before the patient leaves if she wants a receipt.

·        Perhaps we are mistaken about this process.  There are NO written instructions, just a very confusing web site.  We get referred there with questions.  Tech support isn’t very helpful with the little things. 

·        Remember, I’m a dinosaur.  Chat rooms just don’t cut it for me.  My 17 year old kids have given up on helping me with this, too.  Princess knows less than I do about computers. 

·        I have paper charts that go back literally 27 years.  There is NO way I can enter all that data into the computer.  Nor do I want to.  I usually start with: “This patient has been seen since 1987.  She has an extensive paper chart that will NOT be summarized here….”

·        I started a medication flow sheet in 1995.  When someone asks for “that medicine that you gave me that worked for….” I just flip through the sheets until I find it.  Not going to enter these, either.  I think they have fixed the program so it will enter from now on.  I’m not sure.  The update was just last week. 


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