Rushing Past

NYC subway

After every single electronic health record update I am left feeling betrayed. Is it the EHR company’s fault? Is it the healthcare system’s fault? I don’t know and I no longer care. I am just so tired of feeling ambushed. It never feels anything gets better or more useful. 

Just different and harder. 

They took away my layout colors, the nice neutrals. Instead there is garish pink and mint green and even deep blue sea creatures. An octopus in an electronic health record? Really? Do you know how disconcerting that is? 

Yesterday the patient summaries would not print until hours later, after the patient left. Used to be that referral information printed out with contact numbers for the specialists we were sending patients to so they could call instead of waiting to hear from an office that may or may not call them. That information is not on the summary anymore. Do you know how disruptive that is when you have a full day of patients scheduled back to back? 

And then there is all of the minutia… buttons changed, orders switched, WTF?



There is a grieving process that accompanies every update. It starts with hope, shock, disappointment. Then the classic five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally there is acceptance. I am a small fish in a big, big ocean and what I or my patients need means nothing. Someone else decides for me, for them. Maybe that is the meaning of those blue fishes on the background? Swim with the group or get eaten by the octopus…

The “updates” rush past whether I want them to or not. I can do nothing to stop them. 

Adapt and accept or die.

This morning I want to hide in my bed and not go to work. I am exhausted already. But I can’t. People depend on me to put on a brave face and muddle through. 

So endure I will, secretly seething inside.


90 thoughts on “Rushing Past

  1. “Instead there is garish pink and mint green and even deep blue sea creatures. An octopus in an electronic health record?” Makes me wonder how that decision process went. Especially with the deep sea creatures. I can’t help imagining someone writing that suggestion down as a joke and everyone else was like, “Whoa! Deep sea creatures in a electronic health record? Yes! This is an awesome, radical idea that will make the whole thing more soothing and friendly looking.”. 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We also have gotten the garish neon, but I am now floating through space, literally. A black void, scattered stars, and neon planets make up my new background. I wonder if I am supposed to be feeling alive and adventurous with this new view, perhaps a suggestion to be prepared for much exploration once I am inside my program…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What really sucks is that even if you didn’t have the electronic medical records, “they” would make you feel the same way with paperwork and rules. I can just picture King Triton sitting on his shell throne, waving his trident, and yelling with an evil laugh, “swim Nemo, swim!”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My, you have given that EHR a great deal of power! I put on my black turtleneck sweater, my Size 2 skinny jeans and an white lab coat with my signature ballet flat shoes. I put my dictation interface recorder in my left pocket, my reading glasses in my right and I declared that I am in charge of the adventures today. I will rush out on this fall day and let the chips go where they may; I am blissfully in charge of me. Just one of those days I live with passion.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I always feel for you when you go through these updates. I feel like we all have these things in our lives/jobs, but yours seems SOMEHOW more important!
    Sea creatures? Really? Better off adding a fish tank cam on the page to lower blood pressure!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I used to own a auto repair garage – had several government contracts overseen by a leasing company (big giant head).
    Me: Hi this is xx auto, we have unit abc in today, it needs a headlight bulb –
    Bgh: whoa whoa woah slow down! Who is this?
    Me: x. X. Auto. (Repeat everything slowly)
    Bgh: oh. Okay. How much is the headlight?
    Me: $7.65
    Bgh: is that less our discount?
    Me: no that is after your discount.
    Bgh: can you not find a cheaper headlight bulb?
    Me: no
    Bgh: reeaallly. Well okay then. Authorization number to replace bulb on unit abc is xxxxxxx. We allow point two of an hour to change it.
    Me: the labor charge to replace that bulb is one point two hours – the front grill must be removed, the left fender skirt, the battery, to access the headlight assembly to remove it and then change the bulb.
    Bgh: oh nonononono!! I can’t authorize that kind of labor charge! What flat rate guide are you using?!?!
    Me: the one you require us to use
    Bgh: well I’m not authorizing more than point two of an hour.
    Me: so then I’ll just send this unit back out with only one working headlight?
    Bgh: no, you have to change the headlight bulb.
    Me: (out of words and banging my head on desk over and over and over…..)

    It came to the point I simply stopped bidding on the government contracts.

    I feel your pain 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wish I had a magic wand to wave for you! The smallest consolation I have is that I am sure you aren’t the only Dr feeling this way!
    (((Hugs))) pick yourself up a Latte on the way home or perhaps you need something a little stronger. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I hear you on this. I’d love to have the powers-who-be who decide on the updates to follow the clinicians around in the office for the day to see how much fun it is when the things they need to be there no longer are. So frustrating. It’s one of the things that made me leave clinical medicine, and from what I’ve read in medical journals and websites, I’m not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am familiar with the EHR that causes you such pain. I sympathize. For all the money, it costs, it’s so limited and so useless–not being able to accomplish the simplest of things. Companies don’t want to make thing sensical, only trackable, so they can find more ways to gouge everyone; providers and patients alike.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. The disconnects!

    The distance between you and your patient is small, but it is made impassable by crap thrown at you by The System. And The System is prodding you from behind and threatening from above and making moves to pull the rug out. ALL AT ONCE.

    Seriously, I don’t know how you are coping.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sounds like the multi-million dollar electronic health record system of the New Royal Adelaide Hospital, which, according to doctors and nurses, doesn’t work. The government promised (yawn!) to fix it which will cost more millions – and they will, as soon as they sell off another state asset to some buyer with a big cheque book – usually the Chinese.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think the snake of the Asclepius is a poisonous snake and we all have the rod being shoved up our butts!!!!! I am so sick of working in health care. It is not fun. We are looking at all sorts of new COP’s coming down and we have all these ridiculous changes happening. It is going to put a lot of home health agencies out of business….which is what I think they want.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This sounds terrible. It reminds me of the interactions I’ve had with software people. They don’t think like we do. You have to be involved with updates or it’s unworkable. Sorry for this!! Ugh. Sending a warm virtual hug.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have the greatest respect and admiration for the dedicated people in the medical profession , as those that have come to know me will attest. How, or why, anybody would place obstacles in their way, is beyond me. It’s a criminal offence to my way of thinking
    In the past 10-12 years I have had 3 surgeons each saving/extending my life by many years I write of them as my ‘Holy Trinity; but sadly one died early in the year at the young age of 64,, only 12 months after he gave me a clean bill of health, and said I’d live to 150. After cutting my throat twice. 🙂
    It was a very sad day and time for me; he was more a friend than a doctor, and we spent more time chatting about books than health,
    I was at a loss when he told me that there was no need to go see him anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. MRI tech here. The healthcare system I work for recently rolled out a completely new EMR system for all sites and clinics all at once and it has been a nightmare. You’ve managed to put some of my feelings of these past two weeks. My entire department has been grieving over this change, and I didn’t realize it until I read this post. I’m the youngest as a 30 something, and have managed to pick it up quickly, but it is so much of a hassle, and one of our doctors is on the verge of taking an early retirement because of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Doc, this reminds me of a book we were forced to read on year when I was a high-school teacher. It was called Who Moved My Cheese. Basically, the mouse who didn’t adapt and find his/her moved cheese…DIED! It was the district’s “message” for all of us. Hope you see the connection here.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I have been commenting on your posts but I think I have been spammed! It is bad enough getting updates without them changing the way it looks! I bet it is some IT person looking for a promotion and driving the rest of us crazy

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Given the context of this post is software causing you grief a joke is in order.

    “It is not Windows Vista.”

    When Windows Vista was released it actually killed the computers because manufacturers did not address the hardware issues (upgrading performance parts). This was so bad people outright rejected everything Microsoft made until something similar to XP (i.e. W7) was released.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I know. Just when you have become comfortable with the system…and your custom colors, they will change everything on you. And they get paid to do that…a lot. I hope you get a good break for Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Pingback: Writing Links…11/20/17 – Where Genres Collide

  21. I retired from healthcare just as the electronic stage was taking over my job…there was something comforting about going to the files and grabbing what you need without worrying whether the program was going to open, or let you print, then the worry if the printer was going to act up!! I feel for you. nothing like paper and pen in my book. hope your day is a good one…xxkat

    Liked by 2 people

  22. You have mentioned the frustration the EHR brings you over and over. I don’t think I could take it. But then… either you can fight the system or you can’t. It seems you cannot chose the Programme, right? Or write feedback? Then I suggest you try to hand over as much of that red tape to an assistant, resident, intern, nurse, what have you. Before you go bananas.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh, my. Focus on what you can do to make a difference for the patient. The smallest things can really be the biggest. The big picture can suck, but you CAN do something, because you have a heart and you’re brilliant. Really.

    Liked by 2 people

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