This update was meant for January of this year. As with most things, life can get in the way, and now, four months later, I am finally getting to it.
As a first point, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed many issues within our healthcare system. Issues from how doctors deliver care, to how patients pay for care, to how the government or why the government should subsidize care. An EMR cannot and should not influence these decisions. However, one thing that I continue to think on, is how an EMR can help in a situation like this. I think that there are many possibilities for software to help from data collection to data analysis and more. The most important possibility that stands out to me, is the human factor. An EMR can make a physician’s life easier. A well designed EMR can become the operating system for a practice such that the “normal” things are taken care of and the physicians, nurses, and staff can focus on the crisis at hand. Further, I can’t help but wonder how many more physicians may be in the workplace or available had they not gotten burned out on the complexities of dealing with documentation? How many more nurses would be willing to jump in for extra shifts had they already been doing extra shifts for the last year because no one wants to work in an environment that is pushed to the limit, in part due to poor EMR design?
Obviously, the answer is nearly impossible to know. However, I do believe that the EMR, because it is so critical to modern medical practice, has a much larger role to play in the work culture of medicine in our country than many people give it credit for.
Ok, end soapbox.
Now to some updates: