I spent the entire 4th of July weekend covering the inpatient GI service at Texas Children’s Hospital. Our inpatient medical records were recently transitioned to Epic. I rounded the entire weekend without picking up a pen. Amazing, really.
Here’s what I’ve noticed when working with EMRs: I find myself focused on the technology. Pulldowns, data, pasting, clicking and the process of documentation. EMRs make me data centric.
When I was a medical student I was data centric – in an analog way. I was preoccupied with the mechanics of the exam and history. Head to toe skin exam, cranial nerves, DTRs. It was about pocket eye charts and tuning forks. I was focused on my H&P at the expense of my connection. It was only after I became familiar with the whole process did I relax and begin to focus eye-to-eye on the issues of the patient.
I suspect that as I customize the flow of how I work in Epic I’ll reemerge to connect eye-to-eye with residents, nurses and patients.
Just as applications need to integrate with workflow, our technology will evolve to integrate with patient flow. And doctors like myself will evolve as well.