Now before you start interrupting and saying how paperless is the cool new thing and it’s so much more efficient, and YOUR doctor’s office is, and they have plenty of precautions for backing up information listen to my story.
They tell you you can write everything in one step. That only works if each person on the staff has their own computer–and it is with them during each client/patient interaction. As it is, we have to print a paper out, write info on it, then type it in later–when we are near the computer. This goes for techs entering vitals and treatment information, and doctors writing their charts.
It is advertised all the info is easy to find and right at your fingertips. OK, what about faxed records from emergency or other clinics? Those must be scanned, and then they’re a pain to open. Also, on the check out sheets we print there is only a limited subset of information so you have to leave the exam room to look. Having info right at your fingers only works if a hospital is large enough to assign each doctor their own tech. And that person has to be by the doctor’s side with a computer, taking notes the entire time.
Plus there are advantages to paper files that a computer just can’t copy. With paper files, you can stick meds, tags, take home instructions, ect. . . inside to keep everything together. Also, you can prep files the day before. Which enables everyone to save time the next day. I also like that warnings can be written right on every page. I find it easy to flip through pages looking for labs, weights, and on and on, maybe I’m just used to the paper more.
In the next installment I will explain the largest reason paperless is not the greatest idea in the world.