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Electronic medical records

This morning was my twice-a-year visit to my internist for blood work--check the cholesterol, the thyroid (both being treated with medication), and liver function (because of the cholesterol medicine). I also mentioned again that the tailbone pain from last August (that started sometime in February 2007, but I didn't get in to the doctor until August) was still present. Better, perhaps, after taking extra aspirin for inflammation and sitting on pillows to keep pressure off it, but still there. He's referred me to a non-surgeon orthopedist, perhaps headed for a cortisone injection to see if that helps. Yikes! Googled the orthopedist, and find that he is actually a Physiatrist--new term for me. Double yikes! His practice has a YouTube video of their doctors and staff. [shakes head] What's the world coming to?

But that wasn't really the interesting part of the visit. Since my last visit, this clinic has made big strides in converting to electronic medical records. During my check-in I was handed a print out of my Medication Profile, and asked to make any corrections on it. (They missed one of the two prescriptions, by the way.) My doctor worked mostly from a sheaf of printouts of (I assume) previous visits, with only occasional dips into his hand-written versions on the other side of the folder. He hand-wrote his notes, but then stopped before we were done to pull up my record on a monitor in the exam room, type in some stuff, check the results of last fall's X-ray of my coccyx (and print out a copy for me--lovely, it spotted nothing with the coccyx, but notes 'degenerative disc disease at L5-S1', lower back). I asked about the whole electronic records thing, and his frustration is with the input time--I'm not sure if he has to type in his own notes, but he did mention that he must personally deal with each prescription refill, removing any older ones and putting in the new. Only RNs and MDs are allowed to deal with that. I suggested that the next wave of doctors wouldn't make any notes with pen and paper, but he's skeptical...but then, he graduated from medical school in 1965. His habits are pretty well set. <g>


Mar. 19th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
The Old School doctors may complain, but for anyone like me who has to read the damn things, computerized records are a godsend.

Not only are they easier to read but with the new systems that are being set up, they can be sent wherever they're needed (with your permission, of course) near instantaneously.

The VA Hospitals went paperless about a year ago, and our wait time for their records dropped from a month or more to 24 hours, tops.
Mar. 19th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, I saw a little of that with the X-ray report, even though that was within the Emory system. A year ago there would have been a single piece of paper in my file, if that, with the results. Now he can just print out the results as needed, and presumably the physiatrist will be able to get them electronically, too. (But I'll carry my copy with me just in case...)


Nancy Barber

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