Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Physician, Steel Thyself for Electronic Records

Valinoti, Anne Marie. "Physician, Steel Thyself for Electronic Records." The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2012.

From the article: "At first I thought EMR sounded like a good idea. Then our practice started using one.

Tasks that once took seconds to perform on paper now require multistepped points and clicks through a maze of menus. Checking patients into the office is an odyssey involving scanners and the collection of demographic data—their race, their preferred language, and so much more—required by Medicare to prove that we are achieving "meaningful use" of our EMR. What "meaningful use" means no one knows for sure, but our manual on how to achieve it is 150 pages long.

Now the staff scurry about, rictus-like grins plastered to their faces, trying to hide their underlying stress. The patients, each a Job after completing the elaborate new check-in process—and wondering why the government needs to know if they are an Alaska native, among many other things—arrive in my exam room bewildered by their bureaucratic ordeal.

When the clicks don't get me what I want, I naughtily handwrite a prescription. I skip ordering certain tests I might want because it takes too much time—I'll do it next visit. I dreaded the arrival of this season's flu-shot supply—now there were more orders to input" Read more