I Actually Love Technology

I’ve got myself a reputation as a technology hater. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I just have no patience with bad or stupid technology, like EMRs.

If I apply the brakes going down a hill and then let go of the brake pedal, my car does not roll a whole lot faster than I wanted it to moments before – thanks to a clever computer system I know nothing about. And often, when I drive past our Caribou clinic (where I only work on Saturdays) on my way home and glance to see whose cars are still in the parking lot, the car makes an alarm sound and a red triangle lights up as if I was almost crossing the center line, even if I’m not: The car KNOWS I’m distracted.

Contrast that with my EMR: If I open a patient’s chart and go to the “medications” sidebar icon and hit the + sign, any reasonable human being would think I am about to prescribe a medication right now. Not my system. It asks me which old encounter I’d like to use, and if not, what category of new encounter I want to create. Excuse me, I’m sending a prescription right now, why do I have to spell that out?

Unless we are computer geeks, most doctors just want our technology to work. HOW is not for us; we like intuitive. We want our computers to know and adapt to how real doctors work, rather than make us work for them.

I can’t tell you how many times, when I print a lab or X-ray order for a patient , I have to walk back to the exam room from the printer in my office to confirm on my laptop that I left behind, that I really DO want to print my order. What purpose does the last confirmation screen serve? I’ve already told the computer I want to print the darn thing.

As I’m writing this outside, on my iPad Pro in my sling chair, watching dogs and horses on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I lament the fact that my clinic here up north doesn’t have an iPad EMR app and my Bucksport clinic’s EMR’s iPad app no longer works because of mysterious incompatibilities between iOS versions, app versions and the installation at the mother ship 200 miles away. Desktops are so Stone Age and laptops are so last century.

In my non-clinical work, the technology lets me work whenever and wherever I want. Most of my 777 (and counting) posts on A Country Doctor Writes were written in bed between 5 and 6 am or somewhere just before midnight!

I can run Zoom clinics from my iPhone and publish books from my iPad. Why are medical applications so far behind?

2 Responses to “I Actually Love Technology”

  1. 1 lathomasmd July 10, 2021 at 10:33 am

    Because EMRs weren’t created to help doctors or patients. They were created for data mining.

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.


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