EMR Hell

02/08/2009 at 7:04 AM Leave a comment

I am not a dinosaur, although I feel old enough to be one. I am just over half way in my medical career, assuming I don’t go past 75 years old.  I started out as a computer geek and physics geek but left that because I did not like the loneliness of that kind of work and the frigging frustrations of getting technology to work. Not work well mind you just to friggin work when you needed it to.

Now my past is catching up. the push for EMR electronic medical records is intensifying. Up to this point I felt I might just dodge that bullet. That I would be able to retire before it became mandatory. I am no longer so optimistic. 

Up to recently I felt that we were 10 years or so from the absolute requirement to go electronic, perhaps 12 years. that puts me so close to 65 that I would find something else to do. Now it looks like the horizon is going to be closer to 5 or 8 years. I dont know what I will do about that, but the chances of my going EMR are still very close to zero. Not going to happen.

Briefly, we are not big but not small. the small fry are generally excluded from the mandate. The cost of the system is enourmous and proportionately it will be highest for the smallest group that has to do it. that would be us. You have to get every doctor to buy into it or it becomes an expensive door stop. It is hard to get docs on board when they are constantly busy trying to see their patients. Not only is the learning curve extremely steep, painful, aggravating, it is not something challenging that you can feel proud of at the end, but it is having to fight with something that should work in the background, we need not become IT guys to do this, we are doctors, you really dont want us as IT guys.

I also know the software field. The current programs are not ready for prime time. I believe this totally. They are where windows was during their first few years. Nothing was intuitive, crashes all the time. looking for stuff endlessly. When the tools ( computers and software) become part of the background and not part of what you have to learn in order to do EMR, sign me up. Until then, they will drag me into the 20th century fighting all the way. And in the end will probably lose a practicing doctor to some other field. I wont be the only one either. The brain drain of those my age, a few years short of retirement will be impressive. ( although as my wife reminds me, I have been wrong before)

PS. and I am someone that will try new things. I am not computer phobic. I am stupidity phobic. paying huge dollars to make less money, slow down the process of seeing patients, and become homicidally enraged.  Not a winning strategy.

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Entry filed under: Doctor's Rants. Tags: , .

kidney transplant through vagina? RUKM? chest pain, arm tingling, dyspnea ,,, oh my

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