I love my new EMR, but my staff hates it

I love my new EMR, which I’ve been using for about 18 months now. I love having all my patients’ information at my fingertips in and out of the office. I don’t miss the piles of paper charts all over the place at all! In short, there’s really nothing about it I don’t like.

My staff, on the other hand, hates it.

Now that they’re not jumping up and down all the time to go over to the shelves to pull charts a hundred times a day, they’re not getting nearly as much exercise as they used to. They just sit in their chairs all day typing and clicking, and they’re starting to get fat.

They also have to talk to patients on the phone now. They used to just tell the patient they’d have to leave a message and we’d call them back once we pulled the chart. The plumber had to call three times before they realized he just wanted to come fix the sink in Room 4. Now that they have all the patients’ records a click away, they actually have to deal with the call when it comes in, instead of passing message slips around all day long.

They’re especially annoyed at not having to pull and file paper charts all the time. Since they’re not getting all those paper cuts on their fingers any more, their nails are starting to grow, and they’re telling me they need raises to pay for their new manicures.

Not only that, but their alphabetizing skills are going to pot. One of them told me she tried to sing the alphabet song to her granddaughter last night and messed up before she got to K.

Most significantly, though, my staff points out that EMRs are bad for the economy because they contribute to unemployment. Before I implemented electronic medical records, I had two staffers. Now, because one staffer can do twice as much work in the same amount of time, I let one of them go. And the one who’s left is so lonely.

So be warned that although you’ll probably love electronic medical records as much as I do, your staff may feel very differently.

Lucy Hornstein is a family physician who blogs at Musings of a Dinosaur, and is the author of Declarations of a Dinosaur: 10 Laws I’ve Learned as a Family Doctor.

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