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Mandating Physician Data Entry
We constantly hear about how EMRs slow physicians down in clinic. I’m on the IT side, and while I agree that every EMR needs to work on usability, it seems that part of the problem is physicians have to use the computer in cases when they would hardly touch paper.
Example: the physician used to just dictate his note and tell his nurses about any tests he was ordering. The note goes to a transcriptionist, and later comes back and is filed to the paper chart. The nurses grab whatever paper forms were needed for the tests, which the MD signs so it can be faxed over.
An analogous workflow in the EMR would be: physician dictates his note (not using Dragon, still using a transcriptionist) and the note is interfaced back into the EMR to be signed. The nurses queue up the orders and the MD signs them (or the nurse just places the order and they’re sent to the MD for signing later). This is all technically possible in Epic and I imagine in other EMRs too.
This workflow seems ideal and maintains the original division of labor. Or you could even hire a scribe to write the note and queue up the orders instead of relying on transcription interfaces and forcing nurses to deal with order entry. But it seems that hospital leadership has an assumption that physicians’ hands need to be on the computer constantly. Is there a reason for this, besides health systems not wanting to pay for the extra staff?
In an ideal world I can see mandating that physicians enter data to ensure accuracy, but maybe that’s a goal for later when EMR usability improves.
The author has chosen to remain anonymous.