I don’t know how many people have used OneNote that is usually meant for tablet pc’s, but it has a great feature that allows you to record a meeting’s audio and take notes at the same time. Later if you want to listen to the meeting you can replay the audio. More importantly, you can choose somewhere in your notes and it will take you to the audio that was being recorded when you took that note.
My next question is why couldn’t you integrate this type of feature into an EMR? While you’re taking notes on a patient you could record what they’re telling you. Then, you have everything they told you synchronized with the notes you take. Granted some of the synchronization might be tough since you might not be typing while they’re talking. However, why not take it a step further? Record the entire visit and synchronize the video with the EMR notes you take during the encounter. How nice would it be to just pull up the video to remember what was said when you are doing your charting later in the day? Legally I think it has pros and cons. You know exactly what was said and so you can prove that everything was appropriate. Although, I think the other side is a valid legal issue too since they might have said something you didn’t pick up and then you’d be responsible for that.
There are some interesting technical problems with this. Most important is the amount of disk space you would need to do this type of recording. This will probably make it cost prohibitive for a little while longer. SANS need to come down in price first. Having this much disk space is just a matter of time. Only a few years ago we had a computer with a 5 gig hard drive. It’s tough to buy smaller than 32 gig drives these days with 300 gig drives available. Also, adding this type of advanced functionality is no small task. Any EMR companies willing to take this task on board? Probably not until the market starts demanding it. How about a University researching EMR (although I’ve heard this doesn’t exist) working on a solution?
Think about it. Could having a video recording revolutionize the way you chart? Do you really need to chart everything they’ve said since you have it on recording? Your charting could just consist of your observations(although you could record these on video in front of the patient) and the assessment and plan. Ok, so I’m not a doctor, but if you’re a doctor reading this I’m sure you can see how this could change the way you chart.
I think I might need to post this idea to the Microsoft Healthcare blog I visit on occasion and see what he has to say about the idea. If Microsoft builds the technology that could be a nice cash cow for them.