Three little words…

And those would be…you guessed it! Electronic health record! Life has been busy this summer, working between two clinics, both in the midst of major technology changes. I’m learning and growing with the rest of the staff. In one setting I’ve been more a facilitator, in the other, I’m a super-user. I’d like to have a cape to go with the title. Then I would know I’ve really arrived!

If you don’t know this technology, you will. Coming soon (if not already) to a health care facility near you, and pretty much everyone in this country, electronic health records take medical charts from paper, print-outs, and dictated notes to digital documents that will securely hold lists of meds, diagnoses, treatment plans, test results, diagnostic images and demographic information, all neatly and legibly…no more scrawled physician’s notes to decipher, no more jumble of physical charts.

No matter how much advance planning is done, the transition from paper to digital, or in the case of the second clinic, from one digital system to a new and more robust one, is painful. Painful, painful, painful. Workflows are different, responsibilities shift, new terminology abounds, tasks change. People get upset. Some are excited and adjust beautifully, others see it as the end of the world as they’ve known it. I see it as inevitable, and know that like any new process, a few months from now no one will think about it anymore; it will just be the way work is done. No drama, and hopefully minimal frustration. But that moment of recognition is still somewhere on the far horizon.

So this is my world, for the moment. Or it has been. I’m on a break, warming up in sunny California, escaped to a few days of RVing and slow living. I go back next Monday, ready for the “go live” in one clinic and ramping up to welcome new provider staff to the other clinic. Part-time contracting is interesting, and it can be rewarding. But this summer it’s also been just a wee bit hectic.

So, I’m glad to be back in my own little corner of the digital world, excited to pick up the threads of the blogs I’ve missed reading, and checking in to see what everyone’s been doing while I’ve been largely pre-occupied. I’ve missed my friends, and hope I’ve been missed too. Funny how you can spend all your time in front of a computer and still feel like you’ve been away!

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4 thoughts on “Three little words…

  1. And boy have we gotten the intrusive questionnaires! When my office went digital, an entire life’s history of personal information was asked. It left me feeling as if I hadn’t had enough fun in life if the things they were asking left anyone answering in the affirmative. Yikes.

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    • Ah yes! Well, more fun to come I’m sure! I’m not one to go to conspiracy theory mindset, but there is definitely a lot of personal info that is collected for these systems. I hear a lot of comments of “Big Brother!” The most intrusive element is the reporting mechanisms that keep tabs on everyone’s health issues. ~ Sheila

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  2. My old clinic file was the size of a small library but for some reason the doctor had less of a problem finding things then he does today when searching my records on a lap-top???

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    • Hmm…I’ve heard this too! Well, maybe they’ll get better at wading through the digital info when they’ve had more practice! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! ~ Sheila

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