When the Computers Go Down…

One of the biggest frustrations in practice occurs when there is a technical issue. Either the computers stop working as expected (usually this is the smaller issue), or the system that runs the electronic medical record has a problem (which is the “main pain”). Given that patient histories are in the medical record, we often feel like we are “flying blind” when the electronic record malfunctions. We basically have to revert to paper records. I will certainly say that, while I agree that electronic medical record systems have drawbacks and complaints about them abound, one of the great boons of a computer-based record is that all the patient information is accessible without having to look at a physical piece of paper. This allows a lot more flexibility for having different offices and also for answering patient questions while on call (and thus not necessarily present in the office).

If you are ever in at a doctor’s appointment and there is a lot of frustration and unexpected delay, it is worth remembering that it is possible that the computers are acting up, because it can really ruin everyone’s day.

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