EMR and Newborn Babies

This weekend I had the delightful experience of spending time hanging out in the hospital as my wife gave birth to our third child. All went well and baby and Mamma are doing well. Of course, having this fanatical EMR background that I do, I couldn’t help bet spend many moments considering on the impact of an EMR at the hospital. Certainly I was watching as the nurses spent a lot of their time at the computer entering in all sorts of granular data about what was happening in our room. It was interesting to watch how laborious it was for them to enter everything. I could see many of them dreading that part of the job.

However, the thing that hit me most was that the computer was so rarely in the middle of my wife and baby’s care. At all of the most important points the computer wasn’t even really present. Other sophisticated technical devices were there, but the computer and the EMR were no where to be seen. No EMR when they measured her contractions. No EMR when they gave her a spinal tap (don’t ask me the real technical terms). No EMR when the doctor was performing the c-section. The first time I saw an EMR was actually when we took my new born baby into another room to do all the necessary weighing, immunizations, etc.

Now the question I asked myself was if I felt like I was getting any worse care because the EMR wasn’t at the center of our care? The answer of course is no. Was the EMR probably running somewhere in the background? For most of the care, yes. However, it didn’t really matter to us, because we knew we were in the hands of professionals who were going to do the best job they could do.

Now I’ve always felt like I was a strong doctors advocate (those who’ve read me for a while can agree or disagree), but I must admit that this experience really highlighted the importance of the doctor’s skills in the level of care that’s given. No EMR can replace that. I also find it interesting that doctors are required to provide such detail when they do a procedure they’ve done a hundred times. Imagine if we required our IT people to detail every time they installed a new printer.

Sorry for a few personal musings of a tired new father. Just remember that an EMR won’t be there for me at 4 AM when the babies crying either. However, EMR and HIPAA will be, and I’ll be typing away.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

9 Comments

  • […] EMR and HIPAA: “However, the thing that hit me most was that the computer was so rarely in the middle of my wife and baby’s care. At all of the most important points the computer wasn’t even really present. Other sophisticated technical devices were there, but the computer and the EMR were no where to be seen. No EMR when they measured her contractions. No EMR when they gave her a spinal tap (don’t ask me the real technical terms). No EMR when the doctor was performing the c-section. The first time I saw an EMR was actually when we took my new born baby into another room to do all the necessary weighing, immunizations, etc.” – Nursing units where babies are delivered (insert naming convention here: “OB”, “Mother-Baby”, “Post-Partum”, etc) often use some form of EMR, but it may not be the same one as the rest of the facility. One thing I’ve learned during my involvement in several projects here at the hospital is that “OB” does everything just a little bit differently. When we implemented Pyxis and eliminated floor stock, they fought us every step of the way. When we implemented Alaris pumps, they fought us every step of the way. As we move forward with barcode medication administration (BCMA), they are fighting us every step of the way. The same was true during the meeting to discuss our implementation plans for CPOE. The argument is always the same, “that just won’t work for us because we’re different”. I think every nursing unit feels that way at first, but most come around after they give the technology a fair evaluation. Every unit has little nuances; it just takes some time to work through them. Now, if I could only figure out how to make OB feel same way.{sigh} Tags: EHR, EMR Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

  • Congratulations, children are such a joy. I noticed the same thing last year when my wife had our first child. I think the hospital I was in was using A4. I never did see a paper chart and felt very comfortable with the care and attention my wife received.

  • John,
    As a physician, I think the real benefit of EMRs both in the outpatient and inpatient setting is in the quick access to patient info/data. I agree with you that no EMR can replace the skill of a physician, however, it can surely enhance the physician’s skill by making data more readily accessible so that the physician can make a more informed decision on a treatment plan. I recall the days of having to search through mountains of thick papercharts to search for lab results or studies just 5 years ago. Now, I can have access to 4-5 years worth of info with just a click, depending on how far back the data goes. True, when you are a patient in the hospital, or even in the office, (depending on the EMR) you may think the EMR is not that much involved in your care, but believe me, from the time you enter the hospital to when you leave, all that info that you see the nurses tediously entering in, the EMR is there.

  • Peter,
    You’re definitely right there. It’s so much easier to see all the information. I’m sure they were glad to have it in the background. In fact, I have ease of access of information near the top of my list of EMR benefits. The problem for those who haven’t implemented an EMR is that they can’t measure the benefit of such access.

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