Saturday, February 25, 2012

Electronic Medical Record

I have a new friend to carry around with  me at work -- my laptop computer.

For about the past month, I have been on the electronic medical record.  Rather than dictate my notes to a bank of transcriptionists in India, I type them.  Actually, it's more of a point-and-click system, but for many aspects of the note, I prefer to type.

On the first day using the electronic medical record, I wanted to crawl under my desk and hide.  My orientation had been at least four months earlier, and the technical support person on site was clueless -- I'd ask him a question, he'd stare blankly at the computer and tell me that he's "not familiar with this template"

The first few weeks of EMR (electronic medical record) were beyond painful.  At first, it took me far longer to complete a patient visit.  But, now I think it's faster than the previous paper charting.  I don't have to write prescriptions because if the patient's pharmacy is in my computer, I can fax a prescription right from the exam room.  As a patient talks, while I used to write down notes, I can type my notes, which don't need to be subsequently dictated because they are being typed directly into the EMR system.  And, rather than have a pile of charts waiting for me to dictate them at the end of clinic, it's easy enough to finish off a patient note at the end of the encounter with a patient.

While I enjoy the technology, I don't want to take anything away from the personal interaction with my patients.  I try to set up my computer so that it is not directly in the line of eye contact between me and my patient, and so I angle myself toward my patient, and slightly away from my computer.  I have had to learn how to balance the entry of data with making eye contact with my patients, and try to minimize the number of moments of awkward silence while I try to find the right place to point and click.


So, if you have an appointment with me, and you see me in the room with the laptop computer, please know that even though I may be typing, and pointing and clicking, I am listening.  Really.

6 comments:

Denise Punger MD IBCLC said...

I started EMR a month ago. I've been wanting to add a post to my blog about it, too. The first month I had eye strain and photophobia. sAnyway, perhaps I'll get to those thoughts of mine, soon

erica rose said...

We've been using Epic for awhile now, and let me tell you, it gets a lot easier!! The first few weeks are rough, but I promise it gets better.

laura sharon said...

As much as three quarters of hospital staff are usually burdened with some sort of billing-related work in a traditional billing system. Opting for electronic medical billing solutions (ones that come with free EMR plans) that fit easily into the healthcare business' workflow are key to freeing up staff resources.
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James said...

I agree with you, Doctor. Electronic medical records (EMR) are faster than paper charts. That's one advantage of the EMR. It gives patients the right to monitor themselves, doctor appointments, update medications, medical conditions, and procedures etc. I opt that you suggest EMR to your patients, Doc :) That would be helpful not just on your part, but your patients too.

James Guertin

Edwina Andreas said...

When the proper modifications are made, I think EMR’s can be used by physicians without compromising their interaction with the patients. The modifications I’m pertaining to are not limited to the software itself. The ethical and professional aspects of the EMR must be considered as well. Users must be trained in such a way that they will be able to incorporate what they’ve learned in a real setting in the shortest time and make minimal to no errors. :D

Edwina Andreas

Almeta Tai said...

At first, you will consider yourself a stranger in using MR software. But once you get to know how this medical record system really works, you'll find yourself comfortable in noting the patients' medical condition, prescriptions, test results, and many more parameters. I’m sure you're proficient of using EMR at this time though. :)

Almeta Tai