Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Weeks, Three Links

Dear Faithful Blog Reader,

I have been neglecting you for the past three weeks, and for this I am deeply sorry. As an act of contrition, I offer you one EMR-related link for each week of my remission:

1) You've probably heard this one already, but in case you haven't: Obama promised to create an interconnected EMR system for veterans. Hooray! Read more...

2) Only 1 in 4 doctors knows about the $44,000 (per doc) incentive payment awarded to those practices that adopt electronic medical records. If you're the 1 in 4 who's still in the dark, read this.

3) Is there a future for Mac in electronic health record development? Read this post from the Software Advice blog, which describes the potential success of a not-yet-developed-but-so-called "iTablet" -- a portable, touchscreen-based device (hmm...sound familiar?) that could have widespread applicability in Health Care IT. [Oh, look! My own horn; let me toot it: in espousing the benefits and usability of the hypothetical iTablet's touchscreen, Software Advice's article more or less reiterates my own arguments in favor of IO Practiceware's touchscreen-based system. Booyah!]

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Paper Medical Records "Blowing in the Wind"

Those of you who have nightmares about the Big Brother dystopia that will be wrought on our planet when electronic medical records make significant headway should check out this article from Richmond, VA's, which describes how yesterday morning a large pile of paper charts were "blowing around" a Babies R Us parking lot.

In conclusion: paper is cool for things like funny hats, not patient charts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Days 2 & 3: Joyous, Excruciating ASCRS Conference Continues

How can I possibly impart to you the perplexing reality that is working a vendor Booth at the San Francisco ASCRS show?

I will now quote Britney Spears, in rapid succession, without explanation or qualification:

1. "I have always wanted to travel across seas, like, to Canada and stuff."

2. "If I had a bad show and I know it, don't tell me I had a good show. I hate that. I guess because I'm 17, people think I don't see stuff like that.”

3. "I think it's stupid when you see guys with big necklaces. I think that's the biggest turn off in the world. Who do they think they are?"

4. "I'm rich - freaking RICH."


Sunday, April 5, 2009

IO Travel Journal: Tales from the ASCRS Ghetto

Greetings, faithful Blog readers! I write to you now from my comfortable and quintessentially flamboyant San Francisco hotel room, while wearing giraffe-print bath robe, in anticipation of Day 2 of the ASCRS conference.

Yesterday was alternately joyous and excruciating - joyous because I had the pleasure of meeting many of you and excruciating because I was in four-inch pumps. I failed to take adequate notes on the goings on of the show, but I will be sure to do so today and will report back with due diligence. Yesterday, the play-by-play went something like:

8:50 AM Walked to Moscone Center in heels. Ouch.
9:10 AM Began setting up our Booth.
9:55 AM Befriended some nearby ASCRS compatriots. Stole their candy.
10:55 AM Dear God, these heels.
12:01PM SHOW OPENS! Flood of visitors to Booth 3032! Like bees to honey! Like sharks to blood! Like me to the restroom when it was time to get picked for sports teams in seventh grade!
...Yada yada yada yada lots of interest, holy cow, I don't think I've said the acronym "EMR" more times in a row and with such high-pitched inflection....
4:55PM Why were high heels invented?
6:00PM Celebratory dinner of paella and tapas with the IO Team. Sangria. Lots of Sangria.

Hope to see you all today. More Blogging to come...


(Picture: "Felicia Gives ASCRS the Thumbs Up")

Thursday, April 2, 2009

News Article: A Patient's Perspective

Take a look at this recent article from The Huffington Post about electronic medical record use -- written from a patient's perspective.

Author Elizabeth Rigley says she's mostly impressed with her doctor's system (she doesn't name the vendor), but also has some concerns. Among them:
  • "The patient does a lot of the typing" [during check-in]
  • "Sick patients typing on the same keyboard = germs"
  • "I hadn't considered that it can take a really long time for a doctor, who rarely typed before as a part of this job, to type in the facts you are telling him. For someone who types quickly, this can be a little excruciating to witness."
Do you see a trend? Using a keyboard for information input is, in a word, problematic.

But this is hardly an unavoidable consequence of EMR. On the contrary, IO Practiceware can actually help you gain speed in the exam room. How?

Two words: Touch Screen!

To learn more, check out this article, this FAQ, or visit our company website.

Opinion: EMR not a cure-all, but an enabler

In a recent US News and World Report blog article by Avery Comarow, the author writes that
...about one fourth of more than 175,000 medication errors registered in 2006 "involved some aspect of computer technology as at least one cause of the error." Mislabeled bar codes, confusing screen displays, and physicians overriding warnings on the screen about a drug were among the examples cited. Bad health IT, or bad use of it, can kill as effectively as low-quality care of any kind.
Hm. This seems like a false attribution to me. "Computer technology" (a vague phrase, indeed) is cited as being "one" component that led to various errors - but Mr. Comarow does not stipulate how or under what circumstances.

To this I say, briefly: Physicians who choose to override computerized pharmaceutical warnings are not doing so because they are hampered by the supposed impediments of EMR, but are rather persisting in what seems to be a lack of vigilance and responsibility on the part of that individual provider. EMR will continue to manifest these oversights, but one cannot attribute those kinds of errors - which are perhaps more prevalent, though less documented, with the use of paper charts - to Health IT.

Electronic health records is not a cure-all - to say this short changes the arguments in favor of EMR. EMR can, and will, enable health care providers to achieve the utmost in interoperable, fluid, and unified care - but only if those providers share a common commitment to its success.