Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

EMR Documentation Pitfalls, EMR Adoption Numbers, and from the Hospital EMR

Written by:


This article is one of the most thoughtful pieces I’ve read about the challenges and benefits of EMR versus paper charts. It hits the nail on the head of the opportunities that are available with EMR, but also the stark realities of what’s happening with EMR implementations as well. Go read it and I think you’ll agree.


I’m always suspicious of EMR adoption rates that are put out there. This one puts EMR adoption at 69%. What I think is more significant is the change in EMR adoption rate from their previous survey in 2009 where EMR adoption was at 46%. A 23% increase in EMR adoption is definitely a trend, but we didn’t need a survey to tell us that shift was happening.


You should probably just go read all of Dr. Killpatient on Twitter. Yes, I’m sure many of you will cringe at what’s tweeted. I did in some cases too, but it is a really transparent look into one ER doc’s views. I wonder what his nurses would think of the tweet above. It’s also interesting what’s documented in the EMR. I wonder what Dr. Killpatients note looked like. Probably not as specific as the tweet.

November 25, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Despite Focus On Security Compliance, Provider Data Still Isn’t Secure

Written by:

It looks like we’ve got a billion-dollar mismatch between rules and reality here. An established security research firm has released a study suggesting that while providers are working hard on meeting HIPAA and other security regs, their data isn’t any more secure than when it was before

Kroll’s 2012 HIMSS Analytyics Report: Security of Patient Data, concludes that the rate of  provider data breaches has been rising over the past six years, despite pressure on providers to conduct more security audits and otherwise tighten up their data ship.

What’s scary about this trend is that the healthcare institutions surveyed by Kroll don’t seem to be aware of the problem.  Health IT execs rated themselves at 6.4 out of 7 (seven being “extremely prepared’) on their readiness to address data security. That’s up from 6.06 in 2010 and 5.88 in 2008.

But the data Kroll gathered suggests that they’re overconfident at best. It found that 27 percent of respondents had reported a breach during the past twelve months, up from 19 percent in 2010  and 13 percent in 2008. Worse, of those who saw breaches, 69 percent of providers had seen  more than one breach.

Now, it would be easy to say that regs like HIPAA, Meaningful Use standards and the Red Flags rules are malformed, and that this is just another case of government getting it wrong to industry’s detriment. If there’s any truth to this notion, I do hope CMS leaders take notice and adjusts some of its requirements;  Heaven knows they’d get plenty of credible, carefully thought-out feedback if they ask.

Unfortunately, though, I suspect far from being that easy. We’d all love it if we could just follow the rules, get government approval then say “stick a fork in it, security’s done.”  But as readers know,  security is such a complex mix of implementing technologies and changing inappropriate behaviors that it’s hard to tease out just what went wrong sometimes.

Still, it’s good to have an organization like Kroll remind us that meeting HIPAA requirements isn’t the be all and end all.  Unfortunately, it’s really just the beginning.

April 26, 2012 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Interoperability versus Usability in Best of Breed or All-in-One HIS Systems

Written by:

In a number of my online conversations we’ve been having really in depth discussions about the idea of whether it’s better for a hospital HIS system is better as an All-In-One system or whether Best of Breed healthcare IT systems are better. Much of this discussion has been sparked from posts done on my Hospital EMR and EHR blog. So, if you’re in the hospital space and are not following that site, you should. You can even sign up for the Hospital EMR and EHR list if you’d like. Anne Zieger writes most of the content there and she doesn’t mince words.

In all of these discussions, something became really clear to me:

The best reason to use Best of Breed healthcare IT systems is for usability.

The best reason to use an All-in-One system is for interoperability.

Some people may see this as too simplistic, but I loved a quote I read recently that said you don’t truly understand something until you can describe it in a simple form. I actually heard Bill Belichick do this talking about what he looks for in receivers for his Football team (Anyone excited for Super Bowl Sunday?). He said he likes a receiver that can Get Open and Catches the Ball. Seems far too simplistic, but it’s so simplistic it’s genius.

I think the same could be said for evaluating hospital IT systems:

The thing I like most in a healthcare IT system is one that’s Usable and Integrates Well.

January 31, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Practice Acquisitions By Hospitals Causing Issues with EHR Adoption

Written by:

The readers of EMR and HIPAA have been incredible lately in sending in great commentary on the EMR industry. The following is one such commentary about the issues associated with the now widely seen trend of Hospitals acquiring practices. The person asked to remain anonymous and for the names of the specific EHR vendors to be removed. I agreed since I think the trend is more important than the specific companies.

One trend that I find extremely (and personally) troublesome is the migration from homegrown EMR’s to less functional Hospital based EMR’s – a migration that is occurring frequently now that most small practices are being purchased by Hospitals.

In our case, our small hospital administration decided unilaterally (without MD input) to implement a poorly designed EMR from it’s IT vendor. This has been a colossal failure, as none of the doctors were able to use the EMR. Hospitals are easily seduced by their IT vendors, and think that they can have only one software vendor. They think that all EMR’s are basically the same, either a Ford or a Chevy mentality. They don’t want the docs interfering with the decision process. They don’t have any idea of information and work flow in a doctor’s office. And now they are getting ARRA stimulus funds, and sometimes grant money from local endowments.

We doctors have asked that administration find us one practice that is successfully using the EMR they selected. I think they found 1 doctor 1,300 miles away who was able to make it tolerable. The hospital EMR is CHIT certified, so that doesn’t mean much. Hospital Software vendors have quickly tacked together some sloppy EMR’s in order to save their customer base, and have easily deceived administrators into buying these inferior products.

Our administration has pulled back from implementation, just having us use the scheduler, nursing putting in vitals/meds, and we just enter the ICD-9′s and charges. But another push to MU is coming soon. I have told admin that they must cut my daily schedule from 20 to 10 patients per day. I think that the ARRA stimulus funds and this whole Medicare push for EMR is having a negative effect so far, as least for me. I was using [EMR Vendor] (and still am unilaterally) to organize my data, and generate notes. It’s light years ahead of the EMR the software vendor selected.

I have heard my story repeated many times. The trend of Hospital owned practices may be inevitable, but it has severe negative consequences for EMR, in my opinion.

John’s Comments: While I don’t necessarily agree with the broad ranging comments about administrators not caring or listening to doctors, I’ve heard it far too many times to disagree completely. There’s little doubt from my experience that many hospitals don’t do a great job listening to doctors in selecting an EMR software. However, I’ve also seen many doctors who are terrible to work with when it comes to any discussion of an EMR. So, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the doctors are completely blameless either.

One important point that is made is that doctors like using EMR software that they select. As more and more hospitals acquire practices, this issue is going to come to a head. I won’t be surprised if it’s actually a major part of the reason that the cycle of independent doctors starts again.

October 28, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EPOWERdoc and Unique Features of ED EMR Software

Written by:

As many of you know, when an EMR or EHR vendor wants to show me their system, instead of getting a full demo of their EMR I instead ask them to show me the unique features of their EMR. Basically, I’m interested in seeing the features, functions, approach, etc that makes an EMR or EHR vendor unique from the 300+ other EMR companies in the market today. This was my approach when EPOWERdoc approached me with a request to take a look at what they’ve created with their EMRDoc software.

Turns out that EPOWERdoc has been around for 12 years and is already in 250 hospitals in 40 states. That’s a pretty good footprint for an Emergency Department comnpany. In fact, I read that they’ve done 17 million Emergency Department visits in North America in their 12 year ED EHR history. Of course, these numbers come from EPOWERdoc and we know how good EMR install counts are from EMR vendors. However, even if that numbers bloated it’s a decent sized install base. Update from EPOWERdoc: The client numbers and ED visits are correct, we started out as a Paper Template system from software printing and that is where the large client base is predominantly. We are 36 months into the EDIS market with the product you looked at and have 18 live and another 9 by first qtr 2012.

During the short demo, EPOWERdoc showed me 3 or 4 interesting things about their Drummond Group modularly certified EHR. However, the feature that hit me most was the EMRDoc prose generator. In fact, this demo was one of the reasons that I’ve started predicting an EMR documentation revolution against hard to read, bulky, clinical notes.

I wish EPOWERdoc had a video of their EMR notes prose generator to demo it. If they create a video, I’ll post it to my EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT videos website. Until then, here are before and after screenshots of the EPOWERdoc interface which shows the granular data entry and the note that was created (click on the image to see the full image).

And now the image of the outputted documentation:

We could certainly debate the finer points of the user interface for inputting the data. Plus, a screenshot doesn’t show some of the other elements they’ve created to be able to quickly handle the input of the granular data elements. What hit me was how much the second image read like a clinical note. To be honest, as I read it I felt like I was hearing someone dictating a clinical note. Are their subtle differences where dictation is better, definitely. However, they seem to have done a good job of taking the granular data and turning it into clinical prose. I’ll be interested to hear some doctors thoughts on the above to see if they agree or disagree.

There were a few other interesting EMRDoc features that stood out to me in my short EMR demo.
-As an ED EMR, you have a different workflow than an ambulatory practice. As such, you need the ability to manage multiple open records at the same time. What I think EMRDoc does really well is switching between patients, but then also tracking your last documentation location for that patient.
-Related to seeing multiple patients, EMRDoc documentation feedback tool provides the user (doctor, nurse, etc) with a real time feedback as to the status of the level of documentation for medical coding as well as what has been completed in the note. In the ED where you’re regularly pulled away to deal with a pressing problem, the feedback statuses are a great little feature.
-EMRDoc has a feature that forwards clinical information and data from the Nursing Record to the Physician Record and from various sections of the Physician Record to other sections. Pretty slick implementation that reduces having to document that same thing multiple times.
-One of the big questions for an ED EHR like EPOWERdoc is how they deal with the hospitals large HIS system. EPOWERdoc’s answer was a partnership with Iatric who uses technology allowing data insertion into non accepting systems such as Epic, Cerner, McKesson or Meditech. I’d seen Iatric (They had the amazing trick shot pool table guy at HIMSS), but it sound like I should get to know them a little more. Maybe I can get Katherine Rourke to cover them over on Hospital EMR and EHR as well.

As I said, I didn’t do a full scale top to bottom demo of the EMRDoc ED EHR system, but I thought these were some interesting features of their EHR that were worth sharing. I’d love to hear some first hand experiences from any EPOWERdoc users. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

October 11, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EHR Growth, HIT and EHR Standards, Hospital EMR User Tracking Bill, and MGMA Conference in Las Vegas

Written by:

Time for my roundup of interesting topics seen throughout the interwebs and related to EHR and healthcare IT.

@Allscripts
Astounding growth in use of EHRs – 5x in 2.5 yrs – Dr. Mostashari at #ACE2011 (via Skype) – does your doc use an EHR?

I’d like to see where Dr. Mostashari got those numbers. I think there’s little doubt that EHR use is up. If we say that 2.5 years ago it was at about 15%, then that would mean that using his growth number we’re now at 75%. That seems way too high for me.

@shelleypetersen – Michelle Petersen
US are starting to standardise vendor requirements for #healthit and language used in #EHR regions, important move

Is this a misread of what’s being done with meaningful use and EHR certification? I haven’t seen standards really emerge for most of this. I guess it does say “starting.”

Hospital EMR User Tracking Bill
Don’t ask me why, but this post about a CA Bill Requiring Hospital EMR Software to Track Users came across my tweet stream as well even though it was posted back in June. I guess that’s one thing I love about Twitter. It can bring back interesting content that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

After reading the post, I wondered if the CA bill passed or not. I’m guessing not. Although, I’m still shocked by the article’s comments that even an expensive Epic install at Kaiser can’t meet the requirements of reporting on what data for a patient in an EHR has been deleted and who’s accessed that patient data.

MGMA Conference in Las Vegas
I’ll admit that I’ve wanted to go to the MGMA conference for a couple years now. This year I’m lucky that it’s hosted in the beautiful Las Vegas. So, I’ll definitely be there enjoying the event. I’ve been thinking about doing a New Media Meetup at MGMA like I do at HIMSS. Are any readers interested if I put it together? If there’s only a few of you, we could just do a dinner or something. Let me know in the comments or on my contact us page.

September 4, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Amazing Epic Discussion on Google Plus

Written by:

As many of you probably know, I started a new Hospital EMR and EHR website that follows a similar pattern to EMR and HIPAA & EMR and EHR, but focused on the technology used in a hospital with the EHR being at the center (most of the times). The site has been growing like crazy with the wonderful Katherine Rourke posting most of the content.

However, one thing I found really interesting was that I took this post about Epic Possibly Being Victim of its Own EMR Success and posted it on Google Plus (UPDATE: You’ll need to add me to your Google Circle so I can add you to my EMR circle to see it. I forgot I only shared it with my EMR google circle and I can’t see how to make it public). I’ve just been dabbling around in Google Plus, and so I was surprised by the results.

In the post itself, there have been 6 comments about Epic EMR’s success. That’s really not a bad number of comments for such a new Hospital EMR blog.

However, the astounding part is that my thread on Google Plus that links to the post has already had 40 comments on it with some amazing insight from those commenting.

It’s still really early in the life of Google Plus. Maybe it’s early and the novelty of Google Plus is what’s currently providing the great discussion. I’ll have to seriously consider how I can incorporate that discussion into future blog posts.

August 21, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

The Pains of Healthcare Data Interoperability Described First Hand

Written by:

I was hit by this comment made by Ciro on a LinkedIn group that I’m apart of (You can find the HealthcareScene.com blog network on LinkedIn if you want to join).

My patients are discharged from hospitals and are seen in different offices. I have no clue what changes have been made when I open the patient’s record in my emr. We have to call to have notes faxed to us all the time. Then we scan the documents into the emr and attach it to the patient record as a tif file. If a patient has a reaction to a medication and is seen at urgent care facility, I will not know about it unless the patient tells me. There is no integrity in my emr data since changes are made all the time. Our hospital recently spent millions on a emr that does not integrate with any outpatient emr. Where is the data exchanger and who deploys it? What button is clicked to make this happen!

My practice is currently changing its emr. We are paying big bucks for partial data migration. All the assurances we had about data portability when we purchased our original emr were exaggerated to make a sale.

Industry should have standards. In construction there are 2×4 ‘s , not 2×3.5 ‘s. Government should not impinge on privacy and free trade but they absolutely have a key role in creating standards that ensure safety and promote growth in industry.

I have 3 takeaways from Ciro’s comments.

1. The Pain of NO Healthcare Data Exchange – I can’t remember ever reading a first hand account that so aptly described the pains a doctor faces in trying to care for a patient and not being able to get the data they need to care for the patient properly. We need more stories like this that describe the pains of getting data exchanged in healthcare. Doctors need to recognize these pains and broadcast it far and wide. Otherwise, we’re not going to see any real significant movement. Patients can join in the chorus as well.

2. Healthcare Data Exchange Is Still Far Away – “Our hospital recently spent millions on a emr that does not integrate with any outpatient emr.” Doesn’t that comment just sting you to the core? If it doesn’t you’re probably the one that collected the million dollar checks from the hospital. I’m not sure what to say about the CIO that purchased a system that wouldn’t integrate with other EHR software.

3. Govenment’s Missed Opportunity – The last paragraph of Ciro’s comments talks about how the US government should have helped create a standard for data exchange. I still believe the EHR incentive money should be spent on establishing this standard and rewarding use of the standard. It’s probably too late now.

Keep the stories of terrible experiences exchanging healthcare data coming. I love to learn from first hand experiences. So, send them over and I’ll be sure to get your stories out and heard. Examples of great electronic healthcare data exchange would be welcome too. Few things motivate and gets things accomplished as much as pain and jealousy.

August 12, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EHR Success in Estonia and Ambulatory vs Hospital Differences – EHR Twitter Roundup

Written by:

I’m always fascinated by other countries EHR implementations. So many other countries are interesting to consider since they’re missing so many of the barriers that make EHR adoption and even more specifically health information exchange between EHR software so difficult. Nice to learn more about the success that Estonia has had adopting EHR software. I’d like to learn a lot more about what’s being done with international EHR implementations.

I often have an internal battle when writing on this blog when I’m writing something that’s ambulatory EHR specific versus Hospital EMR specific. In fact, I was struck when someone recently told me that this site focuses more on hospital EMR and not ambulatory. I had to laugh since when I write, I’m mostly writing from the hospital EMR perspective.

This stuff aside, there are distinct differences between a hospital EHR software and an ambulatory EHR software. The article linked above highlights some of those differences. Coincidentally, I’m going to be working to write more about specific hospital EHR issues on the aptly named Hospital EMR and EHR blog. If you like Hospital IT, then go and sign up for the Hospital EMR and EHR email list. It will be a nice compliment to this blog and the EMR and EHR blog. I’ve got 3 other writers that will be starting to write on that blog as well. I’m excited to learn more about large hospital EHR vendors like the mythical Epic. Plus, as I learn more about hospital specific EHR issues, I think the content on this site will benefit as well.

June 20, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

A Trip to the ER: EMRs Aren’t Enough

Written by:

Guest Post: I got the following story that someone wanted to share about the challenges of EMR and workflow in a hospital. I love reading first hand experiences with EMR. Reminds me of a great experience that Neil Versel documented at an urgent care during HIMSS. I look forward to hearing your comments on the story.

Last month, my wife felt some discomfort in her chest. They weren’t pains, nor were they indigestion so much as a gurgling sensation. After two days and no change, she called our family physician. He told her she could come in for a blood enzyme test, but the lab result would take four days. Instead, he said to go to an ER where they could get the result in half an hour.

That evening, a Friday, we went to the nearest ER, at Large, Modern, Suburban DC hospital (LMSDC.) We walked right up to the triage nurse, a woman in her 60s who stood there and took down my wife’s info on paper: Name, Chief Complaint, Age, and Triage Class, a 3. We were handed the paper, the only copy, and sent to the first of what would be three exam rooms.

The room was for EKGs. It was equipped with a machine, bed, etc., and a desktop PC. After a few minutes, a tech came in and ran the test. I asked how the scan got into my wife’s record. She told us it was sent electronically to imaging where it would be reviewed and put in the record, but she didn’t know how it was entered, electronically or scanned in.

We had three more visitors, two nurses and an admissions clerk. Admissions came in with a COW, a computer on wheels. She started asking demographics, insurance, etc., but was called away. The first nurse came in went over why we were there, about meds, etc., took a blood sample and did something on the room PC and left.

The second nurse came in, went over symptoms, meds, etc., again, and scribbled the information on a scrap of paper in her hand. We never saw either nurse again. While waiting for the next step, I saw that the first nurse had logged into the PC, but not logged out.

We were then moved to a small exam area with five beds to wait for an attending and to wait for four hours until time for another blood sample. The area was run by a tech I’ll call Sam. Sam was a remarkable multitasker. Among other things, we saw him:
• Arrange patients and families in the cramped space
• Look for other staff
• Take blood
• Check orders
• Organize a stack of loose forms into their patient clipboards
• Change bed sheets
• Check the EMR for updates
• Check on patient moves

Sam did all this, and from what I could tell, was the only person who was actually followed the different aspects of his cases.

At first, the area was at capacity with crying children, their worried parents and others typical of a Friday night in an ER. While Sam directed traffic, the admissions clerk caught up with us and finished my wife’s record.

Around nine, an attending came in. He stopped midway in review for a half hour cell call and then returned. He recommended that she should go on a heart monitor and stay overnight. After the attending’s visit, we settled down to wait for a room. Sam checked every now and then to see where it stood, but it went nowhere.

About eleven, while making my second run to the ER vending machines, I saw the attending and mentioned that it was getting pretty boring waiting for a room and a monitor. Surprised, he said he’d ordered the monitor and that it should have been put on in the ER. With that, he checked with the charge nurse to get it done. The charge nurse came to see us and had us move to another area with a monitor, which a nurse started. Just after midnight, still waiting for a room, my wife sent me home. She called about one to say she’d been moved to a medical floor and was on a monitor.

I knew that LMSDC adopted an EMR three years ago and, indeed, it was clear that meds, complaints, orders, etc., were being entered into it. However, it was also clear that their system was a receptacle not a workflow tool. Apparently, LMSDC simply overlaid the EMR on its paper system, eliminating some parts, but keeping others. These other elements persist in their own parallel world. For someone such as Sam, who tries to keep his patients current it means more work not less. This explains why he had to deal with the EMR and constantly sort and organize paper forms into their proper patient clipboards.

Even that is not LMSDC’s major ER workflow problem. The heart monitor problem shows there is no shared task list. That is, once the attending entered the order, and I believe he did, the order is in the EMR. However, who is to carry it out and when should become a task that all others can see. Thus, the conversations among the attending, the charge nurse, Sam, my wife and me should have been unnecessary.

A couple of gratuitous points. LMSDC’s system is heavy on desktop machines. It cries for laptops or pads. Nurses, techs, attendings spend their time flying from one desktop to another, logging in and, sometimes, out. It’s a machine centric rather than a user centric system. Users never have their own workspace. They are always in hit and run mode. Even if they have a good system workflow and a good shared task list, they spend enormous time and energy logging in and out of room machines. It’s no wonder things get lost in the cracks.

LMSDC’s system runs both patients and staff ragged in another way. We moved three times, no record I expect. Nurses came and went. The attending should have been on skates. The only one with a dedicated space was Sam which explains why he could get so much done without exhaustion. How much easier their difficult lives and their patient’s lives would be if the patients came to the staff rather than endure the ER’s fast action minuet.

What’s so amazing is that despite their poor IT support and their constant motion, the staff was invariably professional, focused and friendly.

Best of all, after a night in the ER and a morning on a medical floor, my wife was discharged. She’s fine.

March 17, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.