There is a lot of energy going toward creating electronic patient records and it seems to make sense. We email easily to update other information, buy insurance online and even order groceries and movies. When you walk in to most doctors offices you can see or find a room that is filled floor to celling with those yellow folders, not password protected and lacking any form of spellcheck.
There is still a large number of doctors who are not excited about the transition and believe it actually affords a lower quality of care. Their reason being that if they are busy entering a database they are not paying attention to their patients. To me that is akin to hearing a doctor 200 years ago say writing down patient information is distracting because you have to sharpen your quill pen.
The real issue lies in the fact that the tools are not created in an iterative thoughtful process. A doctor is forced to use a system they had little hand in helping to sculpt and therefore the systems may not be intuitive or obvious to the audience it was intended for. This is an interesting time as these systems are now just entering a forced puberty with all the spurts, awkwardness and stutters of the real thing.
Are there any doctors or nurses reading who can give some input on this topic of electronic record keeping, what are you using, do you want to use it or do you loath the idea of it?
When we followed the clinic story in Rwanda we were amused and bewildered to see that the clinic had three computers, yet no way to power them. There was even a scandal uncovered where one of the local healthcare workers was trying to purchase yet another computer because they would receive a kickback.
So in typical fashion we have people dazzled by technology without understanding the needs, application or implications fully. Surprise.