The New York Times had a recent article casted some needed reality on what could still happen even with an EMR system. I think it is good to offer a nice dose of reality to those wanting to implement an EMR. EMR consultant will often tell you that you can make more money, treat patients more effectively and have it brew your coffee. While this can be the case(except for probably the coffee), there is always two possible outcomes for every decision. EMR is a complex decision that depends on thousands of factors. Miss an important one and you might be in trouble. Ok, now I’ll get off my EMR selection bandwagon.
The research and AMA editorial really puts an interesting perspective on how an EMR can cause bad side effects. A few examples they use is the number of screens needed to get to a prescription, the small print used for names, and system outages. I can see how these things could be concerns. However, there are solutions to these problem. The success of failure of an EMR system is more a matter of perspective than anything else. I personally feel that my implementation of an EMR system is somewhat of a failure because it doesn’t solve ALL of a clinic’s problems. The other day someone was touring our facility and they asked the Health Center director her opinion on the implementation of the EMR. She was very satisfied and very happy with EMR. That made me feel really good. I guess I can look at the EMR and know we are doing our very best with what I was given. How satisfying is that? Fantastic!!
Moral of the Story: Don’t be naive that ALL problems will be solved and an EMR won’t cause any new problems. Progress is defined as solving more problems than you create.