The Huffington Post recently had an interesting video in which an orthopedic surgeon poo-poos EHRs because they waste time and cause him to have to type up his notes. He tries to say that dictation is the way to go, in order to ease the pain of using electronic medical records. A word of caution that this video is a paid advertisement for Nuance, of Dragon Naturally Speaking fame, and so the “doctor” might actually be a paid speaker.
He subsequently goes on to say that, well, at least Dragon Dictation allows him to avoid typing notes. And that he dislikes templated notes because he finds them hard to read and impersonal. But he seems to ignore the possibility that templating your own office notes is often a far better approach than using templates an EMR company sets up on their own, and many EMR systems nowadays allow this readily.
I have to say that I found this irritating although I love Nuance’s products, especially the free iPhone app Dragon Dictation, which works very well. It was irritatin because it was at odds with the hard work and creativity doctors need to have in order to make it though all the training hoops of learning to live digitally. I don’t buy that they can’t or shouldn’t have to figure out the another hoop to jump through, especially after they’ve pledged in medical school and residency, over and over again, ad nauseam, that they support lifelong learning. Templating has allowed me to move from patient to patient without leaving a trail of unfinished notes, and it didn’t take that long to get going. It’s a very customizable process that can be just as personal as anyone likes it, depending on how many “fill-in-the-blanks” areas that you decide to set up in your notes. Templating notes has saved me so much work and protected my patient’s information that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to support it.
Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.