Friday, November 28, 2008

404 Error

(Rounding in the world of electronic medical records). I know that the politicians and all those from the adminostratosphere think that electronic medical records are the best thing in the world but man they are a pain in the neck. It used to be that when I went to round on a patient, I had the chart and in it were the vitals, the drain outputs, pathology reports and lab values. I would talk with the patient, examine them and then go over all the values and answer their questions. Now, you first have to sit down and log in to the computer (If there is one open). Scan all the data, if necessary print out all the information you can and then go see the patient. Of course, a lot of the data is not in the chart because the nurse has not had time to enter it into the computer. You can try to track the nurse down but they are locked away at some other computer trying to catch up on all the other paperwork. So, you go see the patient and they ask you a question that would normally be in the chart. You then try to find an open computer and relog in (you get HIPPA'ed out if the computer is inactive while you examine and talk to the patient) and try to find out the answer to the question.

The tech guys then decided to help with the problem by having these little computer carts that the nurses can push from room to room. Of course when you pull up the patients chart after re-logging in for the 10th time you get 404 Error. You then have to push the cart around the room trying to find the sweet spot that will let it connect only to remember that this is a telemetry floor and the computer is probably setting off the guy in the next rooms AID. (Automatic defibrillator). After considerable wasted time, you find the nurse and ask her for the information you need and the answer is that it is in the EMR!

I think I figured out why people think EMRs will save money and prevent medical mistakes. They first make it hard to see patients, so you see less patients and therefore there will be less spent on medical care. Secondly, you cant make a medical mistake because you cant actually treat patients. (Oh, I am writing this now as they are trying to re-boot the servers that run the EMR system. Go figure!)

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

It all just seems so wrong! I know there must be good in there somewhere... but how frustrating for you! And the patient misses out on quality time with the doctor.

I hope your office EMR is more user friendly now. :)