EMR Saga: Yesterday was the one week mark of our computerized medical record. It's nearly brought one staff member to tears at times because she's fallen behind on her paperwork, and I've been up past midnight most nights entering patient histories in the summary page for future reference. (Truthfully, that's because I come home for dinner, kid extracurricular events, and sometimes a nap before resuming the job.) But yesterday, everyone seemed to find their rhythm with the process. I was able to see 27 patients and finish on time instead of 22 and running 40 minutes behind. I noticed the pile of paperwork was gone from the stressed-out employee's desk, and I have no pile of paperwork waiting for me on my desk at work. Everyone's prescriptions have been called in or faxed, everyone's cholesterol letters have been sent, everyone's lab results have been filed. The staff still tends to think in terms of paper charts, though. Yesterday I heard the receptionist tell the medical assistant that she could have the chart in just a few minutes because she still had to enter the demographic data. They haven't yet grasped that more than one person can use an electronic chart at the same time. Nevertheless, we've made enormous progress in just one week.
UPDATE: Today the system will be put to the test. The Hellboys are coming. They're two brothers of preschool age who wreak havoc in the office every time they come in. No matter where I am, I know when they've arrived. The last time they were in the office they pulled a drawer out of its cabinet, dropped it on the floor and sent all of its contents sprawling. The time before that, they left the water cooler spigot turned on and flooded the waiting room. I've instructed the staff to keep their computers away from the little hellions. They're not even to take them in the same room with them. Maybe we'll have to stick with paper charts just for them. posted by Sydney on
2/04/2005 07:42:00 AM
I enjoyed your comments about implementing EMR
CAn I use them on my weblog www.riversidehealth.blogspot.com ??
Gary Levin MD Coordinator, IERHIO email@example.com
I love this technology. Go the next logical step for applying it to prescriptions and there will (should? hopefully?) be a precipitous drop in primary medication errors. I'd love to see a requirement for a descripion of effect or something similar added to prescription writing, since there are so very many meds that have similar names.