Friday, February 11, 2005

MedPundit's EMR oddysey continues

MedPundit fells that there is something valuable in holding a paper file that is missing from the new EMR's.

When I hold a paper chart in my hand, it's almost as if the chart has something of the patient's character about it. I get a better and quicker sense of the patient (at least established patients) holding a paper chart than I do looking at an electronic record. No two paper charts look exactly alike. Some will have corner turned here, a scratched out line there. And there's something about a handwritten page that brings back clearer memories of the previous visit than the typewritten one. (I found this true for transcribed dictation, too.)

I agree with her. The other day I read in an EMR that a patient's gait was "cautious." When I had an opportunity to discuss this patient with the doc who wrote this, she said, "In the paper copy of my notes, I see that I drew a box around the word 'cautious.' " That meant a lot to her and demonstrated the importance of this observation. In the EMR, this emphasis was missing.