... Our practice implemented EMR about three months ago, and it has not been a downhill sleigh ride thus far. Here's the scorecard.
• It saves time. It doesn't.
• It saves money. It hasn't.
• It promotes office flow and efficiency. Hardly.
• It improves staff morale. Are you joking?
• Patients prefer it. None that I know.
• It's been a bonanza for document-scanning companies. Bingo!
What I find most troubling about EMR is that it is "point and click" medicine. It radically disrupts the doctor-patient relationship. Taking the patient's medical history -- the bedrock of doctoring -- is reduced to a sterile data-entry process. Taking the history, the conversation that physicians and patients have had since Hippocrates tended to the sick, is our opportunity to reach out and bond with our patients. During this time, we forge human-to-human connections with patients who are seeking our help. This is the scaffold upon which a sturdy doctor-patient relationship develops. EMR is taking a chainsaw to this structure.
Those who champion the technology are usually not practicing physicians. They are the insurance industry, billing personnel, medical coding specialists, the government, various bean counters and, of course, EMR vendors. Because these folks are not physicians, they do not appreciate how EMR affects doctoring at ground zero in our exam rooms ...
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