Monday, May 21, 2012

RIP, Paper ER Records....We Will Miss You

After months of hype, our ER will join the rest of the world in the 21st century and initiate electronic health records.  Let the spinning begin.

 It is an already out-dated program, cumbersome, not user-friendly, and fits awkwardly with our existing systems...when it works. The roll-out date is soon. Very soon.  I agreed to be the super-user for our building, mainly because it is my 4th ER to have worked at when the electronic records have been the new is better not to rely on anyone else's wits but my own when it comes to computers.

I would say we are probably the last health care facility in the free world to finally put this into practice. As with any New Thing, the first thing people want to know is:  how will this affect me, personally?
Well, the simple answer is that electronic health records in my universe will not do two things: it will not lessen my work load or decrease my current responsibilities and it will not mean I have lots and lots of free time to spend with patients. Triage, which I can normally accomplish in under 3 or 4 minutes, will now take about 20 minutes.  There goes your door-to-doc time.  Of course the new plan is to put patients immediately into a treatment rooms, fill 'em up with unregistered patients, add lots of confusion about who is where and then have no place to put a cardiac patient.  But hey, overall that should really help those all-important patient satisfaction scores.  Naturally, electronic records should mean a lot less paper work, right?  Wrong.  We will have approximately 1/2 metric fu*k ton more when all is said and done.

There is much fear and loathing, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  Ellen is beside herself.  New Cathy is ready to go work at Burger World.

I took another stupid phone call from one of the Suits about an aspect of my job that she could never, ever do.
Suit: "Are you excited?  Go live will be here before you know it!"
Me: (dead pan) "Beside myself.  What a joyous occasion".
Suit:  " I know, right?  Hey, we have something for you!  It's a t-shirt that says SUPER-USER!  Isn't that awesome?  I got you a large, is that OK?  You can wear it the first day so everyone knows who you are!"
Me:  "Oh.  Cool."

Really?  A t-shirt that says super-user?  That is so....wrong.  On several levels.
1.  I don't wear t-shirts.
2.  I would never wear one to work even if I did wear them.
3.  There are about 6 people who work here on the evening shift.  They all know who I am
4.  Think very carefully about the connotations of labeling anyone a super-user.  That would also apply to 2/3 of our frequent fliers seeking narcotics.