I’ve finally found my groove with our EMR. Maybe I’m even starting to like it.
A few weeks ago I got a new iPad, this time a Mini, which lets me type with two thumbs the way some people text on a smartphone, and the voice transcription is good enough as long as you avoid fancy jargon and unusual generic drug names. Yesterday as I sat next to a patient and dictated her history, she added to it and her words transcribed perfectly into my office note, unintended but very elegantly.
Even the size difference from my personal iPad which I had been using, horse barn scented leather cover and all, made a difference because on the mini I can type faster with only my thumbs. Years ago I had a pen tablet computer that wasn’t bad, but I find that the smaller my device gets, the more unobtrusive it seems.
The iPad version of my EMR is growing on me. Its interface was obviously designed from the ground up, so while it looks different from the desktop version, once you’ve worked with it for a while, it is twice as fast.
The software can graph, instantly, any historical lab values and vital signs, which is extremely helpful when I sit next to a patient and want to show them their improving hemoglobin A1c or variable blood pressures. When I first started using the iPad, I saw a couple of patients who had subtly but steadily falling hematocrits and turned out to have erosive gastritis in one case and colon cancer in another. Without seeing the trend in a graph, it would have been harder to spot.
Reading reports, I can enlarge them by spreading two fingers and I can move around by dragging them left to right, whereas on the desktop I have to enlarge the window, click “view,” then choose a percentage enlargement and then use the scroll bar to move left to right in order to see each line completely, which is ridiculously cumbersome.
During today’s 7 hour Saturday clinic I saw 27 patients, one of them brand new to the practice, and I did 90 percent of my documentation on my Mini in the room with each patient. Twenty minutes after closing, I walked out the door and drove home in the sparkling afternoon light, down winding roads flanked by the peaking fall foliage and the royal blue waters.
I felt like I hadn’t even worked today, that’s how easy my day was with my user-friendly app and my new Mini.
“A Country Doctor” is a family physician who blogs at A Country Doctor Writes:.
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