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    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Decisions, Decisions: Looking for an electronic medical record? Medfunnel.com has some, though you have to register to read them. They also have screen shots, so you can get an idea of how they're organized. That's something that you rarely see on the websites of these companies, for some reason.

    It's extremely difficult to get a sense of the flow of an electronic record before purchasing one. You can't get it from their demos, really. They force you into an observer-only status. When I went to the American Academy of Family Medicine's Scientific Assembly this fall, I was hoping to get an idea of how some of the electronic medical record systems compared to the one I'm using. The two big hospitals in my area are offering competing hospital-hosted integrated electronic records in the near future and I wanted to compare the two they had chosen. Even though I was sitting there next to a salesperson looking at a screen and going through a pretend patient visit, I still found it difficult to get a sense of how well the systems would work for me.

    For one thing, they never let the customer touch the thing. Presumably so they can avoid the inevitable first-time user frustration that goes along with most programs. Secondly, all of the vendors had their products set up so that it was only visible on a large monitor. The actual hands on tablet/laptop stuff was out of site. During one demo, the salesman kept directing me to look at the large screen, not his tablet but I wanted to see what his hands had to do to execute all his commands. At one point I commented that the program seemed to be best suited for a tablet since it involved a lot of pointing and tapping to make it work quickly. He pointed out in turn that he was paid to make it look simple and fast. And so he was. After all, he had probably done that exact same patient encounter hundreds of times, maybe thousands, whereas I and every other doctor have to generate infinite permutations of the patient encounter.

    My advice before purchasing an electronic medical record is to go to an office that uses it and test drive it yourself.

    posted by Sydney on 11/21/2006 09:02:00 PM 0 comments


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