I’ve been thinking about SmartPhrases recently.
For the uninformed, the SmartPhrase is a pre-fabricated bit of clinical language used in EHR documentation. We use SmartPhrases to enter frequently used language. It makes life in front of an EHR (EPIC specifically) easier.
The SmartPhrase has evolved as the elemental unit of the electronic health record. These bits of copy patched together help shape vaguely unique clinical documentation.
But packaged as part of a dangerous copy-and-paste trend in medicine, the SmartPhrase has earned the reputation as the processed meat of health information. More evidence, they say, of medicine’s dysphoric slide.
But I used SmartPhrases long before EPIC.
The truth is that my ink scratch on paper during the analog phase of my career was nothing more than an endless daisy chain of recurring bits of language scribbled again and again and again. My mind was a SmartPhrase generator, creating one after another with a Uni-Ball Signio 207 Bold (still my weapon of choice when paper calls).
So if anyone tells you the SmartPhrase is killing medicine, then we’d have to agree that medicine was dead a long time ago.
As a practicing physician, my life is about the recognition of patterns. My communication, in turn, is similarly structured. And the SmartPhrase is what I’ve done all along.
You might like The EHR and Rage Against the Machine.