“Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.” Scott Adams

Our electronic health record (EHR) went down for almost an entire afternoon. Mayhem. Panic. Paper. 

You know what, though? It struck me, as I was handwriting a prescription for the first time in months, MONTHS, that we have made the EHR the center of medical care. 

We are missing the point. 

Now, I know this is not a new, revolutionary concept. I have been hollering variations of this, as have others, for quite some time.

It was refreshing, though, to make actual sustained eye contact and not have to worry if I clicked the button to “prove” that I reviewed their medications or the button that says they declined their flu vaccination or the button to “prove” that we did “pre visit planning” or the button to print the patient summary that will never get read. I didn’t have to harass them about whether or not they were signed up for the crappy patient portal system, either. And I had enough advanced notice that the system was going down that I could print a chart summary with current meds and such, like having an abbreviated paper chart!

What could I accomplish without an EHR?

A whole hellava lot, I thought. I revelled in the fantasy, the freedom. I felt downright giddy with glee.

Maybe the EHR will stay down? Forever?

Then, a pharmacy called about one of my handwritten prescriptions. They couldn’t read my handwriting….

So much for that.


87 thoughts on “Heliocentric

  1. The last line made me chuckle. I often have to read medical records. That is one reason I’m a fan of EHRs. But I do understand the personal touch, too. Maybe they can get Siri improved enough to take care of that. Once they fix spell-check, natch!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL!!! I always wondered if Doctors take special handwriting courses to write the way they do ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry, just had to say it.
    I do like your post! We do become so addicted to technology that we forget what we actually can do without it! I love the quote at the beginning as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A year and a half ago I had minor thumb surgery. The surgeon almost begged me to go to the patient portal as this mattered to his rating or salary or something. I did (I liked the guy). I found that I could easily email him without the hassle of a call so I was glad that he *encouraged* me to use it. Like you said, it has it’s goods and bads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The federal government made a requirement that we demonstrate “meaningful” technology use by stuff like having a certain portion of your patients using the portal. Ours is flat out awful. There are many that are great. Ours is not…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmph. My problem with technology is that when it works well, it is a big asset, but when it is poorly done or breaks down – it cannot be jury rigged to work a bit. Thanks to technology modern tractor trailers get 50% better fuel mileage and emissions are less than 1/4 what they were. But when a truck stops because of a computer problem – it is a waste of time to even look under the hood – just call a wrecker and know the part will be $1,000 and you’ll wait a week for it to come from Asia or, at best San Diego.

    You said this was a planned (o at least warned) shut down. I used to work for a big retailer and for a while our main frame was crashing continually – at least once a week for hours. At the company Christmas Party that year (this is true), the owner stood up in front of 500 employees giving an overview of the coming year and he said he was thinking of giving our VP of IT to the competition along with a dowry so he could ruin their business by not keeping the computers working. I winced.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with Sue – pharmacy problem. I thought doctor handwriting was a universal given. I mean I can’t read my doctor’s signature let alone try for his handwriting. Apart from other knowledge, I always thought chemists were trained code-breakers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This part made me laugh out loud: “Then, a pharmacy called about one of my handwritten prescriptions. They couldnโ€™t read my handwritingโ€ฆ.So much for that.”

    There was this one time at work I had to call a doctor’s office to figure out what he wrote on an x-ray order. I honestly couldn’t figure out one word… And neither could the doctor’s office. ๐Ÿ˜† That’s when you know a doctor has truly bad handwriting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You sound like the whinny clinicians I work with ๐Ÿ˜‰ … what I do not understand, what is the difference in marking a check with a pen and clicking on a radial button…. it is much faster and easier to click… and easier to change.
    If you want to get mad at something about records, get mad at the government that keeps demanding more and more extraneous and redundant information. “I fill out their medicaid number in how many places????”
    We just recently had to go to emergency paper records for a morning when our system had an issue with the new med profile. The oldies loved it, the newbies freaked. I do not know one clinician who loves their EMR, or EHR…Let’s face it…. it the mountains of “paper”work and files that sucks, no matter in what form.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. They’ve banned paper prescriptions here in New York altogether. It’s supposed to eliminate opioid abuse.
    What annoys me most about the electronic records is that no one looks at them when you need, for instance, a referral to a doctor you see every year once a year, or a new prescription for something you have been taking for years. It’s like what was typed disappears into the air, and you have to repeat the information all over again for the 50th time. What’s the point? (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Here is the worst part. You are a physician who is used to fall back on the “old-fashioned” way of working in the practice. When the system fails you can still adapt to pen, paper and typewriters.

    The younger generations who have grown up in all digital environments will not be as flexible. At my school there were already people who had lost their handwriting skills. That was in the early 2000s and that amazed me.

    I consider it a bad development when we lose vital manual skills because “technology.” Imagine a world like “Wall-E”‘s where mankind has even stopped walking. Oh dear…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had an experience last week with my daughter’s primary care physician where she now uses a scribe instead so she can have more face to face time with her patients. The scribe was training, however, so she was more absorbed in making sure she was doing everything correctly and it totally defeated the purpose…for our appointment at least. Personally, I hate that you can’t just talk. The clicking bothers me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No, not you too! Can’t write in a legible manner? Oh well, at least there is a phone call away to verify what the good doctor has written. My daughter always says that MDs and veterinarians write poorly because of all the note taking in class for so many years. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. EHR… I sometimes wonder if that will not be the real Big Brother. At a time, Mark Zuckerberg swaps data with Google, and Apple and Microsoft, about what I eat, read or where I fly to… it seems to me that a system (EHR) that should only be a backup, will soon decide in lieu of doctors… And Oh! The system will then fire the doctors (too costly and argumentative) to hand-deliver/administer the treatments by non-registered (cheaper) nurses…
    (See Samaritan in Person of interest)

    Liked by 1 person

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