My EMR and I

It’s only taken Grunt Doc four days to fall in love with his new electronic medical record (EMR).

It took me a bit longer that that.

But then again, I was never the head over heels type of gal. My feelings for my EMR were more of a slow burn than a raging passion, and we’ve had out ups and downs. We’re more like Hepburn and Tracy than Romeo and Juliet, sparring and fussing with one another, but always ending with a grudging mutual respect and admiration.

And, like any good Tracy-Hepburn movie, our story has had a few scary moments. But each time, my EMR rescued me from the edge of the precipice.

Take, for example, the patient who forgot to tell me about the DVT she had since I had last seen her 6 months ago. I was about to prescribe birth control pills for her, and saw a few visits with a hematologist in her encounter list. A quick perusal of those visit notes tipped me, and I immediately changed the script to a progesterone-only pill. Of course, if the hematologist had updated the problem list and history portions of the chart, I would have caught it upon opening her record. Or better still, if my EMR had found that history itself and popped up a warning flag when I wrote the prescription. But there I go complaining…

There was the time I somehow missed that my patient’s pap was abnormal. But I get a monthly summary print out of abnormal paps from our lab, and caught it on that review. Of course, the EMR does not actually distinguish normal from abnormal paps – the results are still just a text field. It takes the path lab to do the compiling of the list for me. But I’m not complaining, am I?

How about the fact that I can check patient labs and do my charting work at our cottage, allowing me to get out of the office a bit earlier on weekends, or even work from home on the occasion? Now that’s a real benefit of my EMR! Of course, I can’t place radiology orders from home, though I still can’t understand why…

And speaking of radiology orders, why doesn’t my EMR remember the appointment date and not send me an overdue test notice until after that date? And why can’t it print out a med list for my patients when they arrive, since most of them forget to tell me about at least one med that they are taking? Or present me a better summary sheet upon opening a chart, or god forbid, let me design that first view myself?

There I go again, throwing plates at the EMR I love.

Because I really do love it, you know.

Most of the time.

3 Responses to My EMR and I

  1. But what if your patient’s hematologist hadn’t been in your group, then the encounter wouldn’t have been in your EMR? Being a solo doc, I won’t have those connections (either direction). So how much help will it be for me? And prescribing — most of mine is postop only and as of now narcotics can’t be handled that way (script only). Love the idea of EMR, but not sold

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