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Monday, February 9, 2009

The magician, not the wand: Wise use of the electronic medical record

Dr. Matthew Heller's comment:
Having been in solo practice for rheumatology for 34 years, I know that it's the magician, not the wand, that provides better health care. Although I use electronic medical records in my office, I do it in a way that does not interfere with listening to patients, making eye contact and practicing medicine in the way that I was taught 40 years ago.

It's not just privacy that’s at stake. More often than not electronic records spit out boilerplate data (often laden with errors) that get transmitted from one doctor to another completely devoid of any semblance of human interaction.

My vote is for the better practice of medicine, not the better use of computers.

Advice: Find a doctor who uses an electronic medical record as a useful tool, while preserving rapport and attention with you while in the exam room.

Read one patient’s observations on this.

Thanks to Dr. Heller for his letter to the editor, published in today’s New York Times.

1 comment:

Clifford Goldsmith said...

Thanks Ken. Better still, find a doctor who will share the electronic record AS A TOOL with you and other providers. The advantages are many. Not only can you help your providers avoid medical errors by checking their records, but you can also work together to co-ordinate your care and improve your own health. Whatsmore, if you do this before the actual physical visit, your time with the doctor can be focused on the important psychological and social aspects of care and not the tests and procedures. I'd love to hear your and others thoughts on this.

Clifford Goldsmith