Lessons learned during an unplanned EMR downtimeA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. On a Thursday in April, my practice upgraded its electronic health record to the next version, the “latest and greatest” with more features, as well as compliance with meaningful uses 2 through infinity. That was the good news. The bad news was that it meant that our EHR ...

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Fifteen minutes. Give or take. That’s about how long a patient typically spends with a primary care doctor during an office visit. If you’re lucky enough to be healthy, maybe that visit comes once every year or two.  Or if you’re less healthy, maybe every few months. In either case, it’s not a lot of time. Not a lot of time to share all the relevant developments. Not a lot ...

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I’m back at it again, talking about my continued love/hate relationship with EMRs. From my conversations with doctors at different hospitals in our region, it seems that most docs appear to be falling into the “hate” column. Meanwhile, I’m still chugging along with the EHR that’s been installed in my office. And while it works just fine for the needs of a 3 physician single-specialty outpatient practice, it’s hardly the ...

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I’ve been thinking about EMRs, electronic medical records, lately. It’s a subject, despite some professional experience, I don’t feel particularly close to. In fact, if anything, they are a source of consternation. As an industry insider, I see them as an expensive albatross around our collective neck. As a human centered design adviser, I see them as an encumbrance for both providers and patients. And, as a patient I see ...

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There are few certainties in medicine. But treating rotator cuff injuries has revealed one to me: People with rotator cuff tears don’t sleep well. If you want a glimpse into the life-altering symptoms of shoulder pain, just ask one of these patients how many times a night he or she wakes up with pain. Hearing the answer, it’s easy to see that improving the ability to sleep through the ...

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What health care can learn from Katzs Delicatessen Sometime during the last year of the second millennium, I wrote my last letter in response to the last letter I have ever received. It’s been email ever since. I don’t recall making a conscious decision to stop writing letters. It just happened. I cannot pinpoint the exact date when my work memos, agendas, proposals and various notes, disappeared from my desk ...

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Technology finds its way into our lives not so much in big flashy ways as little ones. Oh, I can do this a little bit faster now, isn't that cool? Wow, isn't this convenient? Oh, isn't this a huge risk to my privacy? Oftentimes, when I start talking about Linux or scripting or the command line or any number of tech subjects that seem increasingly esoteric, I get blank stares from ...

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Apps used to monitor blood pressure need better design Here's a design approach that I really, really dislike: the scrolling wheel that is often used for number entry in iOS apps. I find that the scrolling wheel makes it very tiresome to enter numbers, and much prefer apps that offer a number pad, or another way to touch the number you need. (Or at least decrease the number at ...

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The stethoscope has been a symbol of the medical profession for two centuries. Dr. René Laennec probably had no idea how his idea would take off when he first invented the simple wooden tube in Paris back in 1816. After a few modifications over the course of the next several decades, it evolved into what we know today. A central part of the physical examination, the stethoscope currently gives doctors priceless information about the cardiac and ...

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I always pay attention to the reaction I receive from an audience at a talk or individual I encounter when I discuss the difference between a tool and a solution. Marketing a technology as a solution before it has been trialed, integrated into clinical workflow or even an EHR can even be met with legitimized skepticism by an educated purchaser. I offer a few thoughts on the subject which are critical ...

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