Tuesday, February 10, 2009

EMR-phobia: Winding and Unapologetic Musings About How Everyone Is So Freaking Scared of EMR

You may have asked yourself: who exactly writes IO Practiceware's Blog? Is it an actual person, or a hapless team of subhumans who must submit to the deranged and senseless dictates of one omnipotent, EMR-obsessed ruler?

Does/do this/these person/people really think he/she/they is/are funny?

All valid questions, but ones that must remain unanswered. (That is, er, unless you email me yourself. Minor loophole.) And in order to kindle this fire of ambiguity (?), I'm going to relay to you an anecdote from my night out tonight...

While wearing an outfit that can best be described as hipster-meets-mariachi-band (think black skinny jeans and sequined vest), I attended a musical theater cabaret show at Don't Tell Mama in midtown Manhattan. One of my good friends from elementary school (who, incidentally, proposed to me in the third grade) was entertaining on stage. 55 minutes of musical-theater-song-stylings short, it was a rollicking good time.

THE POINT IS. Afterwards when I said hello to my friend's parents -- whom I hadn't seen in years -- I told the dad (who, you should know, is a doctor) that I was in the EMR business.

Here's where it gets freaky-tastic, folks. That's right: freaky-tastic. No sooner had the fated acronym "E-M-R" left my lips than had Dr. Dad broken into a cold, EMR-induced sweat and begun to make a bee-line for the Christmas light-cabled doorway.

"Dr. Dad, wait!" I yelled. He stopped and spun around to face me. "What's EMR ever done to you?!" I cried, in tears. We held intense, unflinching eye contact for about fourteen minutes. Finally, Dr. Dad agreed to sit down and talk it out.

Here's where the drama dies down a bit; what ensued was a basic, run of the mill back and forth about the pros and cons of electronic medical records. (Which is to say, I schooled him! OH BAM!)

But I will not get into the minutia. I write this self-described "Winding and Unapologetic" "article" not to parse apart the common arguments for and against EMR, but rather to convey to you the harrowing knee-jerk reaction of a doctor who is EMR-phobic, and to reflect on the experience.

I do not blame the man for being so staunchly opposed to EMRs; they have a bad rep, and for good reason! Dozens of EMR systems have slowed doctors in the exam room and caused them to lose precious time and money. Furthermore, docs are worried that a new health care IT era means the ultimate ascendancy of a Big Brother-esque figure, whereby all people's health records will be instantly accessible to all kinds of crazies.

In response, I could say:

Read this.

Or this.

Or this.

And, unrelatedly, take a look at this.

But I won't. Instead, I say: Friends, Romans, countrymen! Like all things unknown, EMR systems are scary! But, please, know: you are not alone! IO Practiceware would like to help you! We believe in collaboration, and disclosure, and a freeflow of information that enables, as opposed to compromises, our customers and their practices.

So: when you feel yourself breaking into a cold sweat and making a metaphorical bolt for the metaphorical exit, take a deep breath and don't shut the door on EMR just yet.

Give us a call. At the very least, we'll have a seat and talk it out.


  1. I was afraid of EMRs for a while. But then I took a deep breath, thought about it and took the plunge. It was refreshing.

  2. I think many doctors are too busy doing the math to think about an EHR.

    The math basically goes like this
    Retirement Age - Current Age = Time needed to avoid EHR