First Doctor Fired For EHR Incompetence?

Hot off the news presses is an intriguing story of a Lincoln, Nebraska doc who has been put on administrative leave for apparently not adapting well to a new EHR system.  As one can read into the story Lincoln doctor, Memorial Health Clash Over Electronic Records, there is probably more to the issue than either side is letting on at this point.  However, this story made me think about whether some old dogs will just not be willing or able to learn new tricks.

It boggles (thank you Jennifer!)  the mind that a board-certified medical doctor would not be able to figure out a new way of efficiently charting in order to maintain their workflow, of course after a learning-curve period.  Other doctors in the organization obviously were able to do so effectively, otherwise the doctor in question wouldn’t be the only one in hot water.

I wonder how often this will come up in the brave new world of EMRs and why he wasn’t able to hack it.  In my opinion, if you can type an email to someone, then you should be able to type in a brief patient note.  It’s really not much different.  I wonder what exactly the hospital administrators are expecting from their staff.  Some is clearly amiss somewhere in the details here.

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  He blogs at and


About the author

Dr. Michael West

Dr. Michael West

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. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at


  • Some times is resistance to the technology. Doctors have 8+ years of schooling, and many are haters to change. It’s said if you want to make enemies, then propose change. This is especially the case if they are in their 60’s or more because they are ready to retire and have been using paper charts a long time. No one is gonna get them to use a computer. I have encountered several of these doctors that is probably the case.

  • I beg to differ. My EPIC EMR training consisted of 7 extremely rushed hours of instruction, which in no way prepared me for the swith to the EMR next day..It’s been a month now and there are still numerous glitches in the system and dos are slowed way down in effective patient care. “Resistance to change’ on the doctor’s part is often used as an excuse for Inefficient and downright faulty IT products and their implementation. Training is conducted in a haphazardous manner and IT help is unable to fix glitches and/or is unavailable.

  • I also disagree with Mike here. Looks at the EPIC experience in California recently. This is an important issue, especially for older doctors. EMR allows for “facilitated fraud”. I suspect you see no more than 10 or 15 patients a day at your M Street office. Training is frequently conducted in a rushed manner by IT specialists who don’t speak English as a native language. Much of the software was not purpose developed but altered from the banking world. Easy to patronize others when you have a small academic practice.

  • Sorry to bust your chops DC CV Doc, but you are incorrect about my practice. I see more than this, supervise an NP, and do not have a small academic practice. I can, however, relate to your comments about rushed training by non-native English speakers. I’ll choose to ignore your comment about patronizing. We should all be grownups here.

  • Reading your blog reminds me of the hurried training and careless build process that my healthcare system is experiencing, all repeatedly explained away by excuse after excuse from “consultant” vendors. You don’t even correctly report the location of this incident. And not very cool that you would dismiss these problems as related solely to this practitioners age.

  • Oncology Pharmacist,

    I think you are missing my point. I know that vendors explain away everything. It’s part of their job. And I never said anything was solely related to the practitioner’s age. What do you think is the correct location of this incident? Happy to correct it if something is stated incorrectly in my post. Please realize that we all have opinions and they are all valuable.

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